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How is suspense created in different film genres?

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Aaron Wardell 11.1.1 Media: How is suspense created in different film genres? We humans demand a lot nowadays where a film is concerned. No longer do we want simple, traditional storylines (well at least I don't!), but instead we expect big explosions, top-notch special effects and quality acting. Film directors have a tough task keeping its audience happy; however the more suspense they create in their films, the more appreciative we will be of it. A classic horror or an intense thriller tends to leave us all on the edge of our seats and this is how suspense affects viewers; what will happen next? This is the only question we want to know the outcome of. I have decided to study three different genres for this article: an animation, a sci-fi thriller and a late western. All three have many elements of suspense in them, some more obvious than others and are portrayed under these ideas: * Chicken Run- The Escape * The Matrix- The Chase * Unforgiven- The Shoot-Out ***** 'Chicken Run' is a witty parody which takes the clear set of conventions from 'The Great Escape,' but uses them to form comical moments and to keep the young audience glued to their sets! Directed by Nick Park, the plot is set at a repressive chicken farm, where Ginger and her friends decide to rebel against the evil Mr. ...read more.


The '0' of the computer screen is contrasted with the reality of a torch beam, held by an incompetent cop. The lightning throughout the film is of a grey-green pasty type, spooky in a way. Trinity, very striking in her leather is sitting at the computer from the start, when the police officers begin their raid. When they go to attack, Trinity holds her hands up with signs of no hope and vulnerability. As we suspected, she does not lie down in a difficult situation and manages to overcome this supernaturally. This is when the film crew uses bullet-time photography to slow down and speed up the action in a fight scene. Trinity's moves are extremely well-choreographed managing to see-off so many cops, yet the suspense was still how she would ultimately escape. Parallel editing is also effective here in cutting from one scene with Trinity to another, when we are introduced to the agents. Once Trinity had seen off all the cops, she retreated to the roof with the agents hot on her heels. The soundtrack at this point definitely enhances the suspense already created on the imminent chase scene. There is a variety of shots involved in the chase; the tracking shots which follow Trinity when she runs up the slopes of the roof, again showing her extraordinary qualities, using the bullet time photography to speed up the action. ...read more.


Munny is not the goody from this sequence, yet he's the one who profits the most. Admittedly, 'Unforgiven' wasn't the best film I've ever seen, but what it did do is give me more insight to the western genre and how suspense in turn could be incorporated into that sort of movie. I would recommend it as 'worth watching,' but I'm much more a fan of 'Chicken Run,' 'The Matrix,' or of a really intense thriller/horror. ***** What cannot be ignored is that the three segments of films I have studied, all create a high amount of suspense with the types of suspense between the films being similar and also different. Chicken Run mainly focuses on the variety of shots available in an animation, with the odd bit of parallel editing; The Matrix focuses on lighting and also bullet time photography to maximise the action in an intense scene by manipulating time, either by slowing it down or speeding it up; Unforgiven focuses heavily on setting and characters in order to build up its suspense. As far as I'm concerned 'The Matrix' is the most effective at this, as it totally left me on the edge of my seat at the first time of watching it. 'Chicken Run' is more light-hearted therefore allowing its audience to relax a little bit more, which is why it's aimed at children. 'Unforgiven' just does not leave me feeling as edgy as the other two do, yet I feel it has many good points in building up its suspense. ...read more.

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