The thriller genre is one that has characteristics of tension making,
anticipation and suspense. These characteristics are made to create an
uncertainty on the audience, it is so the audience is eager to know what is
approaching is unbelievable. Thriller films also have the power to give the
audience an adrenaline rush as the films pace is very fast.
Thrillers have an aim of keeping the audience on the edge, so that their
eyes are peeled on the film.
3. Sub-genres in film
(thrillers have sub-genres such as:..)
Spy thriller: This sub-genre tends to deal with the subject of fictional espionage
in a realistic way. An example of this would be James Bond.
Crime thriller: This type of thriller is a mixture of thriller and crime films, it
offers a gripping version of successful or failed crimes. These type of thrillers
tend to focus of the villain instead of the good people. E.g The Departed.
Supernatural thriller: This type of thriller brings in a strange element; like
fantasy and supernatural mixed together with tension, suspense and a load of
twists. E.g the film The Sixth Sense
Psychological thriller: This type of thriller presents the conflict of the main
characters in a mental and emotional way instead of physical. The characters
would be reliant on their mental skills for example. For example The Black
4. Lighting in Thriller films.
The lighting in thrillers tend to be low key, in order to create suspense.
Low key lighting is specially used to create harsh shadows on objects and
faces, in order to set the scene for thrillers and make the environment
within the film look dark and sinister.
Low light would be especially used in the important scenes within a thriller
film to emphasize the suspense and tension. This is because low lighting
helps hide detail so that the audience is on the edge of their seats nervous
on what will happen next.
Thrillers are typically set in rural places such as towns or cities. The action is
usually centered around a house or a family home. This is done because a
home is associated as a safe place, and therefore when it gets invaded the
safety is broken. This creates a unsettling, tense feeling on the audience, as
they can relate and emphasis on the situation.
Dark and dull colors are usually used in thriller films in order to create a
sinister mood. The color also links with the lighting within the movie which
is also low key and dark. The protagonists are typically masked in dark
colors to help hide their actions. This creates a mysterious feeling of the
Typically thriller films use a lot of diegetic sound during the film, such as;
bangs, screams and cracks. The build up of these sounds play a special role
in creating suspense and tension as they make the audience feel jumpy.
Non-diegetic sound is also used in thriller films; a steady drone is used to
Typically, as the action continues the music would get louder and faster
8. Camera & Editing.
Pace and fast cutting is used in order to create suspense, however long
shots are also used to make the audience feel unsettled. The pace of the
film is accompanied with the music to create a eerie feeling.
Cross cutting is used in thrillers, cutting between the victim and the villain,
there is normally an end to this sequence when the individuals meet in a
Codes create meaning. There are two types:
The ways in which the equipment is used, or position to tell the story or
give a hint.
To show what is beneath the surface of what the audience sees. For
example the characters facial expressions or actions show the way their
10. Codes and conventions in thrillers.
In thrillers the use of black and white are conventions, they bring a dark,
gloomy feeling. Lighting, shadows, mirrors and stairs are emphasized in
thrillers because of the psychological approach.
Mirrors are in films their a convention, in order to reflect a characters inner
self, however mirrors can also portray darkness within characters.
Flashbacks are significant in thrillers, they create a sense of space, time and
confusion and complicate and confused the audience for effect. This is a
convention in thrillers to put an insight of the characters life in the minds
of the audience so that they have an idea, and so that it reveals more