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Conventions of the Thriller Genre

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Rebecca Osborne

on 13 September 2014

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Transcript of Conventions of the Thriller Genre

Conventions of the Thriller Genre
Conventions of
the Thriller Genre
The types of characters that are seen in thrillers are:

Serial Killer
Traditional family
People with dark backgrounds
Anti- hero

All these conventional characters are recognized by the audience, the anti-hero is mostly seen as even though they are killing people they are made out to be the hero of the film. People with dark backgrounds are a good character as they leave the audience not knowing the unknown.
Typical settings for a thriller include:
Abandoned places
Isolated buildings
City centers
Cooperate buildings
Everyday family home

All these places are seen in thriller films as they create the best setting for the audience, city's are good for spy feels as the audience get the feeling of everyday life being disrupted. Abandoned areas are good for creating suspense for the audience and the unpredictable can happen.

Themes that are seen in thriller films are:

Super Natural
Detective skills

All these themes create the suspense and thrill needed to be conventions of a thriller film as it holds the audiences attention through the unknown of these themes and what will come from them.
Typical costume's that are seen within thriller films are:

Dark clothing
Cooperate clothing
Futuristic clothing
Everyday clothing

Most thriller costumes are everyday clothing as the suspense is held by the audience not knowing that this everyday person's life is about to change.

In a thriller the narrative is restricted so a lot of the information is hidden. There is an equilibrium and then the equilibrium is disrupted and then the equilibrium is restored again. Examples of this are:

Films that keep certain things hidden right to the end to hold suspense.
There can be the psychological experience so you can feel a wide range of emotions varying from sad, happy, anxious all in one film.
You can feel the thrill of the film so the action and the violence and the danger can make you feel thrilling and excited because it doesn't happen in your everyday life.
Then there is the extraordinary happening in the ordinary so place/objects/people all can become dangerous and thrilling filmed in a way to create fear and suspense and excitement.

Conventional props of the thriller genre vary depending on the narrative and what sub- genres that are included, some examples are:

Mysterious boxes/items
Everyday household objects

All these are used to stick to the conventional expectations of the thriller genre, masks are a common prop that hide the person and create the suspense expected in a thriller. Everyday props are also common as most thrillers show the interruption of everyday life.
Sound & Editing
Different types of sound effect the audience in different ways and makes them feel a certain emotion. Typically in thrillers we see volume being used to create suspense so the use of background music being low and then getting louder as we come closer to finding out what's causing the suspense. Mostly low music is used within thrillers to create the tense atmosphere and sometimes make it scary.

Pace is another important factor in thriller films, mostly the pace of music is sped up leading up to something big and this makes the audience feel its leading up to something scary.

Silence can be very powerful in thriller films, as having silence can create an intense and unnerving feeling, waiting for the next thing to happen.

Both Diegetic and Non-Diegetic sound are used in a lot of thrillers. Diegetic sound is used as it creates normality within the film, so this includes the sounds of cars etc, and this is effective in thriller films as it gives the idea of everyday normality being disrupted by someone or something and makes the audience able to relate more to the film. Non-Diegetic sounds are things such as background music and this used to create the suspense needed in certain parts of the film.
Editing is important in thrillers to create the right suspense and mystery in a film examples of this are:

Continuity editing: This helps the plot of the film run smoothly and all shots link with each other, this is normally seen in the ending of a thriller when it reveals the mystery to the plot and wants the audience to have a clear understanding.

Straight cut: This is where one shot jumps to a different shot and this is seen in the tense part of a thriller when a lot of action is going on.

Match cuts: These are used to connect two unrelated scenes together and show the audience the relation between them, and this is typical within thrillers to show how the unexpected can be related together.

An example of a charter seen within a thriller film is an Orphan within the film called 'Orphan', it has the sub-genre of mystery which is again is conventional of a thriller.
Throughout the film the audience are made to believe this 9 year old girl just seems to have a lot of problems and is evil, but we find out in the end that she is in fact a middle aged woman. This type of character creates the mystery and suspense that is expected of a thriller film and leaves the audience in the unknown right till the end.
An example of a setting in a thriller film is seen in the film called 'The Box'. Here we see an everyday home get disrupted by a mysterious figure, the use of a everyday home being used is that normality is seen to be disrupted and this enables the audience to relate to the film and effect them emotionally more by it.
As an everyday home is used the fact that a mysterious box is placed in the middle of it creates the ever more clear fact that something strange is going to happen and this can be seen through the use of the out of place object being show in a normal home.
An example of a theme seen in a thriller film is psychological this is seen in the film 'American Psycho' which is very suspense filled and we see normal person go to someone with deep issues. Typical of a thriller film we see his psychopath fantasies are in fact all a dream and none of his killings actually happened he made himself believe they did. Throughout film we the audience are made to believe that everything he did actually happened, yet we find out none of it did this is a typical twist found in thrillers.
An example of a certain costumes seen in a thriller are everyday clothes and cooperate wear as seen in 'Lucy'.
The use of everyday clothes shows the normality of person and makes the audience be able to relate to the person more. It suggests the idea that abnormal things can happen to a normal person and we mostly see these normal clothes being worn throughout the film.
Cooperate wear shows the authority of certain individuals and these are normally the ones bringing abnormality to a persons life, and this is seen in the film 'Lucy'.
An example of a narrative is leaving the unknown till the end and this is seen in the film 'Shutter Island'. Here we see a character being a detective at an island looking for an escapee that has escaped from the mental ward that is there, and in the end we find out that this apparent detective is actually mental himself and has created this fantasy to ignore the fact he is mentally unbalanced. This surprise twist ending is very common within thrillers and keeps the audience on the end of their seat until the end.
An example of a conventional prop being used in a thriller is seen within the film 'The Purge' where masks are used to create mystery and suspense and in this film to scare the audience.
A group of people coming to a house all wear scary face masks to hide their true identity, and they carry other conventional props such as weapons. This creates the feeling of mystery and makes the audience wounder whats going to happen next.
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