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Thursday, 3 February 2011

Structure of thriller openings: RESEARCH

Arlington Road contact sheetThere are 4 types of main ways thriller opening can be structured. The first one I will talk about is a discrete title sequence. This type of title sequences are separately edited sequences that stand apart from the film opening. They are stylised and heavily edited, and they support nearly all of the opening credits and film title. Two examples of films that use a discrete title sequence to open their thrillers are ‘Arlington Road’ (1999) and 'Se7en’ (1995). I think they both work very well in creating a sense of suspense while giving hints of what the film could be based about. Also both films have a very interesting choice of font, both films create suspense through their fonts.  I think discrete title sequences work very well because they are very settle when giving out indications of what the film may concern but just enough information is given to keep the viewer wanting to find out more.
Some movies begin with titles rolling over a blank screen, often with sound effects or a sound track, before introducing images. The titles frequently continue to roll over the images. This is another type of thriller opening which can work very effectively to create suspense and anxiety. A film that used this type of opening is ‘Dead Calm’ (1989), its title sequence begins with all the credits and title of the film being introduced and then the film moves on from the blank screen to a train. I think this transition worked very well in this film because it created a sense of suspense. I personally really like this way of opening a thriller because it creates nervousness inside the viewer and makes them very fascinated in what will happen next.

In some film openings the narrative starts immediately. We are introduced to locations, settings then characters. The key enigma may even be introduced. Also while the narrative is being introduced there will be titles running over it. An example of a film that used this opening very well is the ‘Panic Room’ (2002). I think their opening worked so efficiently because of the choice of font and shots displayed, they both worked so well together. The opening of this film clearly introduces the setting of where the film is set, and then a couple of minutes into the opening the main characters are introduced. I think this structure of opening is very likable by audience because it quickly gets the viewer into the film and doesn’t waste any time, but still keeps the viewer wanting more.
Another structure of a title sequence is stylized editing. This will take the longest time in post production and needs to be very well planned to work successfully. Most film openings stand out when their editing is so stylised, and makes the viewer more interested. An excellent example of stylized editing is used in ‘The taking of pelham 123’ (2009), this opening really does stand out, it fast speed and quick change in shots really creates a thrilling and exciting title scene. This structure of a film opening is very interesting and exhilarating and would definitely keep the viewer interested.

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