For the following Codal Analysis, I will be taking three film
openings from my chosen genre – horror, and looking at the
different codes and conventions for the topics..
The three I have chosen are,
The Woman in Black
• At the beginning of the film opening. They portray some clips of a childs
tea party. We know it is a tea party through the different shots on the
porcelain tea sets and props such as the childrens toys. The teddy bears
also conform to this child like play, however it is the next shots which
subvert this. The audience is then shown the children walking over and
breaking the cups. This subverts the previous scene and expectations as it
is a complete change in character.
• The location is set in a victorian styled house which makes it out to be old,
and sets the era of the film. We see this by the old furniture and the high
• The costumes of the characters and the dark lighting also appear to the
audience as being very bland and dull.
• Throughout the film opening. We are played mostly non-diegetic
music behind the clips. It is a quite sinister, creepy
tune and is played continuously. This adds to the creepy
effect on the audience and also conforms to the horror
• The only piece of dialogue we hear stands out and is
extremely effective. The loud scream at the end of the clip
shows emotion while is effective because it is the only
dialogue used. Its emotions conform to the genre and links
to the silent clips the audience see.
• There are also sound effects which are added in, to
enhance the effect of certain scenes of the clip. For
example, the smashing of the porcelain.
• The use of the different close ups add to the sinister feeling the
scene gives off, which emphasise that it is a children's party. This is
through the use of props, they are feeding it to the toys and there is
no water in the mugs. After this, we see we see a tracking shot of
the children getting up and walking towards the window. While
they are doing see, we see a range of tilt and tracking shots. The
tracking shot follows them walking to the windows, while the tilt
follow the items they are dropping on the floor.
• At the end of the clip there is a final shot which zooms out from the
window to show the room getting bigger, and a final shot showing
there is no longer anybody there. This makes it seem as though the
girls are drifting away from the audience as they have died.
• There are also high angle shots used in the room to make the girls
appear vulnerable and susceptible to danger.
• In this film opening, the narrative is not shown
clearly. Although the emotions that come off
from the scenes display a general idea of horror.
At the beginning of the clip, there appears to be
nothing wrong as the girls are playing with their
dolls. Then, the atmosphere changes as the music
follows when the girls look directly at a subject
we cannot see. It appears that something has
possessed them into doing so as they break their
toys and simultaneously walk towards the
window and jump it.
• There are a few strong enigma codes in the opening
scene of the film that lead the audience to questioning
what is going on. Firstly, we see the girls playing with
the dolls without talking to one another. Why are they
doing so? The lack of communication in the opening
scene appear sinister.
• Then, towards the middle of the clip. We see the three
girls look towards the corner of the room, however the
subject is not shown in the frame. This leads the
audience questioning who it was they looked at? Why
did it change their mood so rapidly and cause them to
jump out of the window?
• The use of the telephone prop is iconic in this film
opening as it takes something that everyone owns and
transforms it into something creepy, conforming the
• The setting is in a large, American styled home which is
open plan. This makes it scary as there are no separate
rooms that are closed off by doors and therefore there
are no places to hide.
• She is running around, which amounts to the fear
among the audience. She is clearly disturbed by the
man behind the phone as he knows who she is and
information about her boyfriend.
• Suspense is built in the film opening mainly by the diegetic
dialogue the man says on the phone. His word choice such as ‘I
want to know who I’m looking at’ builds tension as it shows he’s
• When the tension builds and the man hints at the prospect he
could be outside, there are noises such as a dog barking which
usually happens when they are disturbed.
• The crickets symbolise isolation as they show she is alone.
• The door bell adds tension as it makes the audience question.
• When the female then gets scared, tension and fear is built by the
tone in her voice and her increasing anger. At the beginning of the
film opening, the mood is relaxed as the girl is doing her day to day
jobs… however, when the phone continues to ring, her mood is
enhanced through the anger and build up of the non-diegetic
horror sound in the background.
• There are a range of different close ups in the film
opening. Such as at the beginning, when the girl
is doing normal things, such as the popcorn. We
also see close ups of the girl picking up the phone
which is symbolic in the film opening as it is the
crisis. It subverts what we would expect of the
norm of answering a phone.
• We also see reaction shots of the girls face as her
tension builds and she becomes more panicked.
• There are tracking shots showing her tension as
she runs across the house in a place to escape.
• In this film opening, the narrative is shown clearly
as we are shown a crisis and given details into the
characters. It is also clear what is going on as the
character is in fear of being stalked. There is just a
linear narrative as there is one storyline, although
it pans out to include her boyfriend and brings
other characters into her crisis. The atmosphere
is calm at the beginning of the opening, then at
the end it is rapid as the fear of the character is at
• In the film opening, there are many enigma codes
present which lead the audience asking questions and
entices them to continue watching. These include…
• Who is the man behind the phone?
• Why does he want to harass her?
• Who is her boyfriend?
• How does he know who she is?
• What happens next?
• These questions leave unanswered strings as the
audience can relate to the protagonist, they want to
watch on and find out what happens.
• Throughout the opening, the whole of it is filmed
on the plane which makes it the setting. There is
a lot of iconography that follows with this which
is highlighted through certain camera shots, such
as, the windows and the air hostess outfits.
• The costumes and makeup are all normal day to
day clothing, until the plane crash happens and
they all have blood on their face. This makeup
subverts what we saw at the beginning and
conforms to the horror genre.
• When the plane is about to take off. We hear the
diegetic sounds of the plane and what we would
normally hear. There is no non-diegetic music
playing in the background, however there is
dialogue of people talking on the plane.
• Next, as soon as the plane is malfunctioning, the
fear and atmosphere is enhanced through a
range of different sounds such as the beeping
which suggest something is wrong. After this,
music is built up which creates fear.
• Throughout this film opening, most of the shot
types are medium close ups as all of the
passengers are sat down. At the beginning, we
can an over the shoulder shot of the man looking
out of the window. We also get a extreme long
shot of the plane on the run way.
• All of the shots are placed at a high angle to look
down at the characters and show how vulnerable
• At the end we get a reaction shot to show the
fear and emotions of the protagonist, we know it
is him as he gets the most airtime.
• The main narrative code in this film opening is
shown when the disruption of the equilibrium
occurs. When the plane takes off, all is fine,
until after when they start rapidly descending.
Then when this happens we see the plane is
going to crash. Then at the end, we see him
blink as it was only a premonition of what was
about to follow.
• Throughout this film opening, the main
enigma code that arises is about the ending
when it was all just a vision. Therefore the
main question for the audience is what is this
• Why does he get them and was able to see
into the future?
• Also, another of the main questions is why
was the plane about to crash?