1. In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?
1. The title of the film
Picture one shows how our titles appear on screen at the end of our opening two minutes, this is when the girl has been killed and there is still tension which therefore sets the scene for the rest of the film. The music is fading out and the notes become longer as the titles come on, it is a dramatic end to the opening and the titles are on separate clips to create more of an effect and they fade into each other to signify a tragic death. We put them there because for the film to carry on the killer could be the last one standing, because of course the last girl died in the opening two minutes. The font we used is bantang because in film openings I looked at the titles were usually in sans serif font, this is because it keeps the seriousness of the film rather than a serif font which would usually be used in romantic comedies.
This title is inspired by the girl being the last girl to survive the woods disaster. Although she is not the stereotypical final girl, we thought the title represented how it’s not always the good looking girl that dies first.
The location for our film is a house that is isolated so it gives the impression she’s on her own and nothing can be done if anything is to happen. It has bushes around the outside which gives the effect its easy to hide in and easy to look in. (http://jessxthorneblog.blogspot.com/2011/02/all-at-location.html)
There are 3 main places we have used, the bathroom, bedroom (as shown on picture 2) and the woods. We used these places in particular because the bedroom and the bathroom represents a nature of sexual activity, for example, the bathroom is usually where people are bare and go in the bath/shower, this helps represent Ellie’s character because she is effectively the scream queen so stereotypically has a sexual nature. It also helps relax the audience but at the same time brings tension as the person is getting closer towards the house.
The bathroom was inspired by the film Psycho by Alfred Hitchcock (http://jessxthorneblog.blogspot.com/2010/12/ring-2-deconstruction.html), in that scene it shows a woman getting stabbed in the shower, which challenged this convention and decided to use a bath instead of a shower and a strangling death rather than being stabbed.
The bedroom is very messy which signifies a stereotypical teenagers room and it also has the common things that appear it a typical teenage girls room, for example a mirror and beauty products, these also signify how vein the protagonist is.
We also used our local woods to create a blair witch effect which is intertextuality. This was a good place to do it because it creates more tension and it’s a more creepy and eerie location.
3. Costumes and Props
The costumes that are used in our opening two minutes are revealing clothes, for example, in the woods scene all the girls are in skirts and leggings with revealing tops on, it is hard to see because they did have a jacket on top, this is because it was too cold for us to expect the actresses to take off anymore layers and also the torches didn’t light up them very well. Also there is a lot of nudity in the bathroom and bedroom scene, this is to show a stereotypical scream queen as they are usually sexually active and wears revealing clothing (http://jessxthorneblog.blogspot.com/2011/01/g321-maunsell-gina-last-one-standing.html). The dressing gown is both a prop and part of a costume, because she gets strangled with the cord which is the weapon but has to wear the dressing gown to cover her self up, the dressing is not a simple design it is a leopard print design, this represents her character as materialistic and doesn’t do things simply.
Other props used were the torches in the woods, this is effectively alternative lightening but is creates a blair witch effect which looks good on the camera because all you can see is the people and not the surroundings so the audience doesn’t know what is behind them. Hair bobble is used to tie her hair back for her bath, this also shows off the characters face and reveals more clearly what she looks like.
The actress did have a bikini on when we filmed her, this was because we didn’t feel comfortable film her like this and because it is rated a 15 we couldn’t show anything more than we did, also it wasn’t necessary for her to be fully bare because our shots didn’t entitle this. There were also bubbles used in the bath to cover up our actress and create a more relaxed atmosphere in the scene.
We also used the bedroom mirror for when the character is getting ready for her bath, she takes her top off and reveals flesh which signifies that she is vein and doesn’t mind showing off her body, it is also a typical action of a scream queen. The clothes she is wearing before she gets in the bath signify that she has been out with her friends, they are quite slutty which in horror films I have looked at show that the sluttier they are the more they should die (http://jessxthorneblog.blogspot.com/2010/12/ring-2-deconstruction.html).
4. Camera work and editing
In picture 4 it shows a low dutch angle, this is to create the effect of the character being naked as she is getting in the bath, it also shows the dressing gown on the floor near the door which means its easy to access. We have many different shot types ranging from close ups to long shots.
Our establishing shot of the house is to set the location for the film, it also immediately shows an isolated place and it signifies a POV shot through the bushes which gives the effect someone is watching this house. It the continues into a shot of the girl sat at her mirror getting ready for her bath, this shot is a mid shot and we set up the camera so it is filming her in the mirror and you can’t see the camera. There are then shots to the outside of the house which are all long shots, again giving the impression someone is getting closer to the house, this build up tension. There is then a shot of the girl’s legs and the skirt falling down on to the floor, this is a low shot and gives the impression that she is naked after previously taking her top off in the mirror. There is then a POV shot of the girl putting her dressing gown on and then her opening the door, this all creates the illusion that she and the killer are getting closer.
The next shot is another POV shot of the girl leaving her bedroom which is match on action, this backs up what the audience originally thought, the killer can see her walking past and is very close. The long shots of the house still keeps reminding the audience that she is on her own and is isolated from any potential help. Then there is a close up of her hand switching the tap off. The next bit of the film is of the girl tying up her hair, the shot is as if she is looking through the mirror which is a mid shot, it again represents how vein she actually is. There is then a low angle shot of her dropping her dressing gown and a dutch angle of her stepping into the bath, both of these shots are low angles because they create the illusion that she is naked.
Ellie then slouches into the bath to relax, this is a mid shot, the bubbles have formed perfectly around her for the effect of her being naked, it cuts back to this again of her eyes shutting to show she is dreaming. It then cuts to a long shot of her in the bath, the audience can see the door and the dressing gown, this is creating tension because the audience knows something will happen and the character doesn’t which makes the audience fear for her.
This is where the film cuts to the flashback scenes in the woods, the initial shot is distorted and blurred, it’s just showing the surroundings of the woods. There is then a close up of Ellie and it is a low angle, this makes her face the centre of the shot and because it is darkness around her it means she is vulnerable to anything. There is then a long shot of her friends, this is to show that there trying to have some fun but they don’t know what is lurking behind them. The shots then keep panning back to Ellie to show that she is the protagonist, the torch is used to help light up her face which again keeps just her in the frame. We then brought in the fuzz to make it look like it is a home video, it also gives the audience time to prepare themselves for what is about to happen. There is then another long shot of the character moving deeper into the woods which then cross cuts to a close up of Ellie’s face again. The camera then pans onto the road, it is a long shot and shows the audience where she is, it is also isolated, we have put a blur effect on it to show she is coming out of her flashback.
There is then a close up focusing on the dressing gown on the floor, it is another low angle. There is an extreme close up of Ellie’s eyes to show how startled she is and that something isn’t right. Through out the film the editing is fast paced to create more tension and speed up the deaths. There is a variety of shot types and lengths and we have used cross cutting. With have clips that are hand held, for example, the whole of the woods scene, and then we have clips that are steady, we used a tripod to achieve this. We have used continuity editing which makes the film have pace and to make it flow.
5. Title font and style
The title font is in white and on a black background (http://jessxthorneblog.blogspot.com/2011/02/jt-titles-for-last-one-standing.html) which are binary opposites. The style for the end titles is bantang and the font size is large. The name titles are Lucinda bright and font size regular. They are all in sans serif font which is a typical convention of a slasher as I found on research and planning. The titles are simple and don’t take away the focus on the screen, this is good because the audience wont miss anything and have full attention to the film.
6. Story and how the opening sets it up
The rest of the film would carry on by an investigation of the woods and the house tragedy. The police would get involved and investigator would take over the case and try and find the culprit, it would challenge the audience minds and would have a twist. The original idea would be a supernatural killer but because of the footsteps coming towards the house it suggests it’s a person not a supernatural killer. In the end of the film it would finally reveal the killer as a big twist, this genre would be slasher/thriller.
The opening sets the film up by killing off the girls for the investigation to carry on and the killer isn’t revealed which keeps the mystery for the film. Also there is two events to make the film lengthy and to give the investigator more to go off.
7. Genre and how the opening suggests it
The genre is slasher. The opening suggests that it is this genre because 4 characters get killed straight away which prepares the audience for the rest of the film. The house in the establishing shot is an idea we used from the iconic Halloween (John Carpenter, 1978) which again is intertextuality. The music we have is creepy which sets the film nicely, it also signifies the slasher genre because it is tense and spooky. The footsteps signify someone watching and gradually getting closer to the house which again ties in with the slasher genre. The killer is also unknown which is quite common for slasher movies, this lets the audience use there imaginations and gives it more of a horror edge. The flashback opening is all distorted and mysterious which again represents the slasher genre because nothing is ever simple and they usually play with the audience’s minds.
8. How characters are introduced
The characters are introduced in the wood scenes, it is obviously shown as the main character introduces herself for her home film. You get to know the other characters in the woods scene as well, with names being shouted such as ‘Abi’ and ‘Livi’. Ellie is introduced during the second clip as she is getting ready for her bath, immediately the audience knows she’s the main character and that the focus is on her, the audience can tell that she is quite a vien character but because she is brunette might not consider labelling her straight away.
The special effects we used were mainly in the woods scene, where it is all black and white and the fade ins and outs are blurry to create a flashback effect. As shown in picture 9, the blur effect distorts the picture, just like the flashback is distorted for the character because she doesn’t know how her friends died and who killed them. We have also faded in and out our idents and titles, this gives the audience time to breathe and prepare themselves of what is coming next. We have also filmed a fuzzy picture to make the woods scenes more like a home video, also music has been put together to go with this.
We did have problems with showing that the flashback is in the past, so we decided to put it in black and white and also blur the opening to create more of a distorted effect, also the music changes slightly when the flashback begins.