My favorite movie genre has to be the good old thriller. I love movies that get me amped up or put me on the edge of my seat the entire time and that are exciting to watch. Ones where there might be a few frightening aspects to them but no real gore or bloodshed maybe just a jump scare or two. I like thrillers over horror because I feel thrillers have more meaning behind them and the actors have a purpose being there rather than just to get killed in the movie. The movies I chose as examples to use are The Birds (1963), Alfred Hitchcock, IT (2017), Andy Muschietti, and Get Out (2017), Jordan Peele. All three of these movies while very different, are some of the most exciting thrillers I’ve ever seen with very likeable characters who all have meaning in the film and who you all root for. The fright or suspense aspect that comes attached to every great thriller is not hard to miss in these films as well, which just adds to the effects of these movies and makes it so hard to look away from the screen. The final great thing about these films are the intensity of not only the build ups, but each one of their climaxes as well. Each one of them are unique and vigorous in their own way and truly keep you on edge throughout the entire scene.
The Content and meaning behind all three of these movies are very different. In the movie The Birds although very chaotic and creepy throughout most of the movie, the subtle meaning behind it that man people over look I feel is mostly about love. The main characters Melanie Daniels and Mitch Brenner are in love throughout the entire movie and although for most of the movie it’s subtle it becomes very obvious towards the end. I believe the birds attacking the town are an example of forces trying to stop their love and this movie shows how strong of a force love truly is. Another hurdle they must overcome in the movie is Mitch’s mother as she is not very fond of Melanie. This is a very unique and different meaning behind most thrillers, but one that works so well throughout this movie. In the movie IT, the real meaning behind this movie is teamwork and showing how anything can be accomplished if you work together. As the gang of children in this movie work together to overcome their fears and defeat the ultimate enemy being the monster “IT” in the end. This movie really does do a great job of taking a horror movie and turning it into more of a thriller with a meaningful story behind it that anyone can learn from. Get Out is the third film I chose and actually might have the deepest meaning out of all three. This movie does a great job in showing modern day racism and how it works. It does this by showing your classic white suburbia family who claims to “love black people” and everything about them and what they do, but in reality (just like many people in the world today) don’t do anything about the racism issue and actually don’t even really see the black people in the movie as even part of the human race(to understand this fully I suggest watching the film). The meaning and content that can be taken away from that movie really can and most likely has given many movie goers something to think about as they have walked out of that theater. While all of these movies have different messages to take away it shows that thrillers although exciting, scary, and action packed still can have a deeper meaning behind all of that.
The style in all of these movies is different in some aspects, but the same in others. It is the same throughout all three movies in that these movies all give off a creepy, dark feel to them. Even in scenes where it shouldn’t feel like something is wrong and that everything is okay you still get the feeling that something bad is going to happen. This is a feeling that every great thriller gives off, the feeling of suspense throughout every scene even the non-action packed ones. For example, in the movie The birds after the school house is attacked by the birds and everyone is in the restaurant talking the suspense drops a little and for a moment you feel like everything is going to be alright. But as soon as you get that feeling a bird is shown attacking a man outside and then all hell breaks loose as the entire town is attacked by the birds. The mise-en-scene is different in these two other movies for example IT, and Get Out give off throughout the entirety of the film a rather darker and eerie vibe that is coupled with many frightening scenes. While The Birds still frightening in its own ways shows a little more light behind it throughout the movie in subtle ways. A lot of this is due to again the love theme behind it but also I feel the setting plays a role. Being outside in a sunny bay on the coast of California really helps make the movie feel a little less dark then many other thrillers I’ve seen. The styles of thrillers are all generally the same but all movies are different and give off different vibes in their own ways.
One major thing that all three of these films share is the use of close-ups throughout the movies. This camera shot gives an intense uncomfortable feeling that is used multiple times throughout the films. A fast zoom in on a characters face during a frightening scene can give this same effect as well. A characteristic that is seen throughout all of these movies is the use of low-key lighting during certain scenes also. This just like certain camera shots will make it darker on screen adding to the fright of the movie. But on the contrary, very intense light can do this same thing and we see this used in Get Out. This tactic is used towards the end of the movie right before the climax to really give you that final feeling of true uncomfortableness right before the high point of the film. There are many different lighting techniques and camera angles used to give any scene a very creepy feeling and these are used in almost every thriller to date.
There are many editing techniques used throughout thrillers but unlike many other things used this genre of movie they don’t stay very consistent. Different directors use different editing styles to give their movies different types of feels and this stays true for movies in this same genre. A technique shown predominantly in the movie IT is the use of a montage. During scenes of panic there are many shots that cut back and forth and up and down and are really all over the place, but it works and does its job in making you feel panicked and confused just like the character in the movie. In The Birds Hitchcock does the opposite of fast editing and uses long takes in many of the scenes. This gives some scenes a more realistic feeling. I feel Hitchcock was trying to give this movie a very real life feel when filming to immerse the viewer more in the film. Both of these editing techniques can give the movie more drama and a frightening feel.
Sound is very important when it comes to the making of thrillers. Whether it is the use of music, loud intense noises, or just creepy subtle sounds that you can faintly hear in the background they all are used throughout this genre of film. In the movie IT some creepy noises can be heard throughout but the main use of sound comes from the music that is played throughout certain scenes. The music really helps shape the scenes but the beauty of it is that you wouldn’t even notice it were there unless it was gone. It does a great job switching between high pitched, low-pitched, fast paced, and slow paced music in order to fit the certain situation of the scene and make it that much more intense. The birds however is a completely different movie in this aspect and actually has zero music throughout the entire film. The sounds heard are natural sounds that could possibly occur in real life. In bird attack scenes squawking of the birds and flapping of their wings are heard, while in one of the restaurant scenes the sound of clanking dishes and people chatting in the background is heard. These sounds once again give a more realistic feel to the movie instead of music playing in the background. Although perhaps more intense the audience may like the natural feel better. Get Out is very similar as the movie IT in its use of music. I feel many more movies use music now, and since these movies were both made recently and in the same year they are more likely to be more similar in many aspects and one of those being in their sound.
I found throughout these three films that the actors predominantly used artificial acting as their styles of acting. I was pretty surprised by this but all the actors in these films seemed to try and artificially recreate human behaviors and emotions throughout the scenes in the movies. They all did a very impressive job at it as well especially in the movie IT. The main actors throughout this movie were all just children and I was just really impressed at how realistic and likeable they made themselves feel. That’s the beauty of acting though, how people are able to recreate or “act” as other people and bring those characters to life. How these actors are able to take millions of people and for a short two hours make those people believe that they are real it truly is inspiring. I feel most actors use artificial acting in some way especially in movies and that’s why I believe that’s the method these actors were using. I feel naturalistic acting is used more in theatre and not so much in movie films. Although you could tell that the acting through these movies was fairly artificial, the acting performances were done really well and were able to allow the audience to still immerse themselves in the films.
The reason I chose to use the birds because not only is it one of my favorite movies of all time, but in my opinion it is one of Alfred Hitchcock’s most different movies. Unlike his other thrillers like Psycho there isn’t any music, it uses a ton of close-ups and long takes and it has this natural creepy feel to it and I personally really enjoyed it. The movie Psycho as I mentioned uses music to enhance the creepiness factor in some scenes and while it does work it just doesn’t have the same natural vibe that I feel from The Birds. IT is on the scarier side of thrillers but unlike most extremely scary thrillers or even horrors this movie as I said before has a great story to tell and the characters in it are so loveable and easy to like. I was impressed with Get Out because most other thrillers such as King Kong or Die Hard (just some for example) don’t have the deepest meaning to them, and while they’re exciting and fun to watch they don’t leave a lot behind them. While Get Out’s meaning was the best part of it. Just the thought and ability for people to be able to relate to it around the world is what drives this movie home, and if anyone were to watch it right now I can guarantee that they’d feel the same way.