Published on September 16, 2014
Movie release date: April 11, 2014 Director: Mike Flanagan Genre: Horror AUDIENCE This film is intended to scare the audience and for this reason it is targeted at people who are teenagers to late 30's. This group find enjoyment through the horror. A film like this wouldn't be suitable for people under the age of 15. The film is rated a 15 therefore reinforcing that the audience are for this age and above. http://www.tribute.ca/trailers/oculus/19604/ GENRE The film itself is a horror and the trailer conforms to this. The music throughout changes pace to enforce the intensity of the trailer and this adds to how it is also a thriller. Throughout, the cuts also are synchronised with the music so the pace changes, adding to the mystery and the drama to the horror. I feel that this film successfully obeys with this genre and goes with the norms of horrors in the way that the audience are kept on their toes the whole time. However the trailer doesn’t reveal too much which has become typical in movie trailers in this decade because the director wants the audience to be surprised of what happens in the actual film. This works with the horror because this genre surprises and scares you throughout. The setting in the house also haunts the viewer and the flashbacks gives the film a sense of reality.
Mise-en-scene Lighting The use of the prop, the light bulb, is disturbing and escalates the fear of the viewer. Using this prop emphasises the danger they are in. Also the broken glass could be used to foreshadow the danger they are in. As the girl bites into the light bulb the sound increases dramatising the scene, this is an example of anchorage as the sound and image are used simultaneously for effect. In addition to this one of the main props in the trailer is the mirror which is always central to the camera shots depicting its importance. The lighting coming in from the mirror draws attention to the mirror but this soon blacks out, creating suspense and tension. The lighting gives the audience false hope, making them comfortable before the later disturbances of the trailer. Also this lighting is used during the beginning of the trailer and this creates suspense. The supernatural force that comes from the mirror is in a light blue dress which compliments the eyes that have been edited white, therefore leading the audience to them. The blue depicts the coldness of figure therefore foreshadowing the danger of the force. This suggests that the director of the trailer has tried to continuous remind the audience of the upcoming events that occurin the movie, therefore reinforcing that the genre of the movie is a horror. A framing technique has also been used in order to draw the viewers attention to the figure who is in the centre, bulls-eye, of the shot. Props Costume
Editing Cuts (transitions) Throughout the clip the transitions become a lot quicker in order to dramatize the clip and add suspense. The music follows this and increases in volume in sync with the cuts to add intensity. This conforms to the genre of a horror because the audience are constantly being shocked and are unsure on what will happen next. As the trailer begins the picture fades in and out, contributing towards the fluency of the video. This also is a way of creating suspense, resulting in the audience having a fear of the unknown. The genre of the film is a horror so fading out onto a black background the trailer has a negative atmosphere. This is an effective editing technique as the black background is used to depict the gloomy emotions that a horror creates. The fluency almost is used to relax the audience before the intensity is reinstated later in the trailer. Filters The clip has been edited into slow motion as the cloth falls off the mirror to dramatize it. It results in the audience being more focused on the mirror. This also affects both the fluency and the cuts of the trailer because it slows the pace down. I feel that the slow motion is away of showing that the mirror isn’t going to go away. In this same print screen a sepia filter has been used in order to portray an antique feeling, this could be done to highlight how the mirror has history. Fades/Dissolves Fluency Slow motion
Camera A long shot has been used in order to set the scene, however there is a sense of mystery. This entices the viewer and makes it feel like they are there. The longshot also gives the viewer more to take in, however the bulls-eye composition is meant the audience is drawn into the focal point, the mirror. This could be done as a way of telling the audience that the mirror is central to the film. A close up of the super natural force is revealed as a way of grasping the attention for the audience and making them want to know more. The close up also means that it is more disturbing for the viewer. Not only this but the background of this close up is dark, in contrast to the long shot shown above, this is done to dramatize the figure in the shot and draw our attention to her eyes. Lastly the camera shot is quite thrilling due to the facial expression, linking with the genre. The girls head is out of focus in this shot reverse shot and this is so the audience pays full attention to the boy. It also links to the narrative theory of props because the boy would be identified as the ‘Donor’ and the focus on him shows how the girl relies on him and without him she could not continue on in the plot. I feel this focus is of high importance because it shows the high significance of the male character. A low camera angle has been used when the focus is on the mirror, this is a way of showing the power and superiority of the mirror and how it haunts whoever owns it. The blood dripping down further enforces this. This camera angle is another way of belittling the audience and making them feel scared, again conforming well with the genre horror. Shots Focus Angles
In post-production the blood has been edited into the shape of the letter S in order to emphasise how the actresses soul has been taken. The red blood further depicts the danger. Texts and credits are used at the start of the film to inform the audience what the producer has also made, this is a way of reinforcing the movie is a horror. The font used in the texts and credits is very simple and sharp, this means that the audience remain serious throughout. Characters The villain The Princess/hero The Donor Narrative Theory- I have tried to use this trailer and apply it to Propp’s theory, the idea that each media text has 7 distinctive characters. I have been able to pick out three of these within the trailer, supporting this theory. The most obvious was the villain who is the supernatural force from the mirror. She is the one who is a huge danger to all the other characters within the plot. Next I labelled the girl actress the princess, because she is the one who wants to catch the villain yet ends up being the victim and the one needing help. Arguably, the girl is also the hero because she is the one trying to beat the villain. Lastly I chose the donor to be the boy who assists the princess/hero because he is beneficial to the plot and she would not go on with her plan without him. Although I have not linked all 7 characters, these characters support his theory because the remaining 4 may be revealed in the whole film.
Changing of time zones The films start in the present, showing where the mirror is now in its current form. The film finishes with the mirror however the audience are looking down on it and the room is a lot darker leaving the audience in fear. The fact the trailer starts similar to how it finishes shows the power and the significance of the mirror. Alternating from the past and the present depicts how the mirror is on going issue and doesn’t go away. The fact both the shots have the same actors and the same mirror suggest how the mirror is something they cannot get rid of and there is a prominent relationship between them and the mirror. The storyline within the trailer reveals how she wants to put an end to the deaths the mirror has caused so in the first shot the mirror was in control of their lives and effecting it dramatically, and now they have grown up she is trying to take control of the mirror and defeat it. The different in facial expressions contrasts, linking into the narrative theory created by Levis strauss. In the top shot the facial expression convey innocence and fear where as in the top shop the characters and depicted with strength and courage. The body language reinforces this because as they are older they are facing the mirror showing how they are taking it on, where as children they are facing away from the mirror showing they have no power over it. The time zone therefore allows the audience to see how these two characters have grown up and how they have changed. This creates a sense of reality and this could be purposely done in order to make the film more believable.
The apple scene One of the most prominent scenes in the trailer is the section where the girl goes to eat the apple and then bites into the light bulb. Below is a step by step analysis of this scene. As the girl walks into the room there is a long shot allowing us to see all of her and how she is eating and apple and sorting out light bulbs. This immediately establishes what she she doing, shown in print screen one. Then the girl is shown in a wide show so we can see the box of light bulbs, her and the apple and her arranging them, shown in print screen two. Again the use of the wide shot allows the audience to come to terms with the scene. The shot then becomes closer to the light bulb and the apple next to each other on the surface and her hand, with red painted nails connoting danger, comes in to pick up the apple. During these three clips the sound is diminuendo and only picks up in print screen 7 in synchronisation with the girls fear. By keeping the sound quiet for print screen 56 the audience are able to hear the diegetic sound of the crunch along with the dropping of the light bulb on the floor. The music is essential to this seen as it exaggerates the atmosphere. As there is more danger the shots become closer and closer, and an extreme close up is used of the models eyes to depict her fear and this is a successful camera technique because the audience get to see and feel the girls emotion. You could argue that this scene is a post modern reference to snow white because there is the innocence of the girl eating the apple, like the innocence of snow white, and in both cases the apple was dangerous. 1 2 4 3 9 8 7 5 6
During the feedback, some of the pupils in my class left questions for me to answer and I have tried to do this below. This questions are of high importance in relation to the trailer and they have helped me understand how the trailer is so effective. Why is it called ‘Oculus’? The definition of the term oculus is ‘a round or eye-like opening or design’ and this may refer to the main feature in the film, the mirror. The mirror is the opening and the instigator of all the problems caused and is the one that is allowing the supernatural force in to real peoples lives. The fact the actual definition suggests its ‘eye-like’ insinuates how the mirror is always watching you and staring back at you. What voices are used to narrate? Throughout the trailer one of the main characters, the girl who is ‘the princess’ in Prop's narrative theory, is the one who’s voice dominates the trailer as she tells the story to the video camera we hear it. This form of narration is effective because the audience get to find out the story from someone who has been through it. The trailer also includes the other characters voices but this is just snippets from the film to dramatize the clip. The sound track One of the most effective aspects of trailers in my opinion is the sound track, because this is the part that emphasises the actions. In the film trailer Oculus, the director has used the soundtrack effectively in order to conform to the genre of horror. Anchorage is used throughout so the music is simultaneous to the events within the clip. Both diegetic and non-diegetic sound is used within the trailer, this is crucial because diegetic sound like the footsteps add the extra effect while the music dramatizes it. The sound track itself varies in the way that it goes from being loud, crescendo, to quiet, diminuendo, therefore resulting in the audience jumping when the director wants them too.