Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Structure of Thriller openings

Film openings consist of three basic structures which are:

- Titles over a blank screen followed by a narrative opening
- A narrative opening that has the titles running throughout
- A discrete title sequence
There's also a fourth type of style of a film opening which can be referred to as 'stylized editing'

Titles over a blank screen, followed by a narrative opening

 ‘Dead Calm’ is an example. The effective of using this kind of haunting opening is that you can quickly show the titles sequence and move on into the narrative opening. Moreover the titles are bolder and clearer against the blank screen.
The lack of any image places more emphasis on the music, which represents doom is this sequence. 

A narrative opening that has the titles running throughout

An example of this is 'Panic Room'.  In this opening no characters are seen or referenced but the surroundings and setting is shown. An establishing shot shows a modern financial district of a major American city.  There are many birds’ eye views and long shots to make us look more deeply into the picture.  The font used in this opening sequence is almost 3D and this really works well as the letters stand out clearly against the buildings.

A discrete title sequence

The thriller film, 'Se7en' creates curiosity by showing suspenseful footage in the opening as you don't know what is about to happen.  Many juxtaposed close-ups of abstract, seemingly unrelated images are taken with a shaky, blurry camera hold.

'stylized editing'

This occurs when a range of editing techniques are used to thrill the viewer. In the opening, the film ‘Mezrine: Killer Instinct’ uses stylised editing. The title credits appear on a black screen while the special use of editing and split screen engages the viewer and maintains interest.

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