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Genre Research

What is a thriller?
A thriller is a film which has an exciting narrative which
captivates the audience until the last few minutes of the
film. It gives viewers heightened feelings of suspense,
excitement, surprise, anxiety and anticipation. The aim of
thriller films is to always keep audiences guessing what is
going to occur next and for audiences to always remain on the
edge of their seats.

History of Thriller in film


The thriller genre began to engulf movie theatres across the
world during the 1920s and 1930s.During this time period
directors began to understand that there was a huge market for
thriller films, viewers loved the feeling of not knowing what
was coming next and being kept on the edge. A notable thriller
director of this time period is Alfred Hitchcock, at times he
is referred to as the Master of suspense. He pioneered many
of the major components of the suspense and psychological
thriller genre.

Codes and Conventions


Costumes: Conventionally, characters within a thriller film
are shown to be dresses smartly and presentable Costumes
usually show contrasts between two characters e.g. a smart
looking man compared to a scruffy looking teenage. This is
used to emphasize the differences in personality between
characters, which creates mystery for the audience concerning
the characters personality.
Props and Location: Traditionally thrillers are set in normal
everyday situations such as a shopping centre as this adds to
suspense as it shows the antagonist disrupting the normality
of things. Fight sequences and chase scenes are usually
located in small, confined places as this adds to the idea of
being trapped and isolated. Furthermore props used in thriller
films usually aid with the narrative and the characters
personality e.g. a gun would be used to signify danger.
Lighting: Stereotypically Thriller films usually have low-key
lighting to create a dark and sombre atmosphere. This creates

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tension as the audience are unaware what could happen in the


surroundings of the character.
Sound: Ambient sound is used to increase tension and panic
within a scene. Mainly diegetic sound is used, however nondiegetic sound is used in the form as a voice-over.

Camera Work and Editing


Thriller films usually use editing that will connote danger,
suspense and tension. Predominantly during fight sequences
fast pace editing is used, to create a sense of urgency and
desperateness. The use of this editing technique also conveys
how chaotic the protagonist life is getting due to the
antagonist disrupting the usual order of the protagonists
life.
Many different camera angles are used in Thriller films to
covey different moods and to create certain atmosphere for
specific scenes. A close up could be used to convey a certain
characters expression and emotion during a certain scene. A
low angle could be used to signify the status of a certain
character and to show the character in an intimidated
situation.

Target Audience
Thrillers traditionally appeal to both female and male
audiences and a variety of social economic groups
conventionally through the use of relatable characters.

Appeal to target audience


A key appealing factor to any target audience is that the
narrative is relatable, or the plotline is captivating and
thrilling, ensuring audiences would never be bored or take
their eyes off the screen.

Example of successful thrillers


-Memento (2000)

- Interception (2010)

- Psycho (1960)

- Zodiac (2007)