Monday, 1 November 2010

Film Trailer Analysis of The Unborn (2009)

The Unborn is an American horror film from 2009, its sub-genre is Supernatural horror, the film is produced by Michael Bay. The film received a lot of negative reviews and responses from its audience, its box office performance was however successful. The film revolves around a woman who is tormented by a ghost and therefore seeks help from a Rabbi. The ghost who possesses the women is known as dybbuk, which is a type of ghost is prevented from passing over for some reason. The dybbuk tries to use the woman's body as an entry point into reality.

How are the genre and sub-genre signalled? 
At the very start of the trailer it is possible to begin to develop an awareness of what the film may be about, it starts with the woman (babysitter) speaking on the phone to someone they are then disturbed by a bang from upstairs immediately followed by a child whispering into the baby monitor, it is clear that the child is possibly possessed in some way since when the woman goes up to the child he attempts to hit her and mentions about something wanting to be born, a boy in old clothes who looks almost dead then flashes between the shot of the boy. Horror films in general often use children as a tool since they are more vulnerable and can easily be manipulated. Also present is a number of different pieces of iconography such as the monster hands which try to enter the door the women is shutting. Supernatural horror is the likely sub-genre of horror that this film is based on because; things such as exorcisms are mentioned.

Conventions, Iconography, Actors, & Directors?
The trailer try’s to follow a number of different conventions, such as the use of a dark setting at the beginning which is remote, away from any other sign of civilisation. What appears to be a possible ghost like creature is present throughout the trailer; they appear slightly demonic in look, with pronounced looking eyes and very white skin as though they are a corpse. The idea of using a child to show this creature is very much a modern horror convention. Other conventions used include the exorcism midway through the trailer whereby the women is strapped in and what is probably a priest appears to perform an exorcism, suggesting that the demon is possessing this woman. Supernatural horror tends to use possible mythical creatures, considered to be made up, such as the creature who trys to gain access into room, the human shaped creature with its head on its side and which walks up the stairs in the trailer is another creature used to signify the genre, following the conventions. Alot of the editing shows how there appears to be poltergeist activity, such as when the woman is floating above the bed at the beginning of the trailer.

The director of the Unborn is David S. Goyer who has directed other horror films such as Demonic Toys (1993), and other films such as The Dark Knight, he is also a screenwriter. The main actors who star in The Unborn are Odette Yustman, who is known for films such as Transformers, Kindergarten Cop, and Cloverfield, although perhaps not very well known to the horror genre. Gary Oldman a British actor plays the rabbi, who helps Odette Yustman's (Casey) character in the film, is known for a range of films such as Harry Potter, and Batman franchises, he has also starred in a Psychological Thriller film called Hannibal (2001), and the Gothich Horror Dracula (1992).

How is the audience lured in to watch the movie?
The trailer attempts to use a number of tactics to lure the audience in, a number of questions are created after watching a trailer such as this one, such as, who is the child at the beginning of the trailer, and how come they involved when the child later on looks different, this particular scene at the beginning may have been used to deliberately confuse the audience into thinking that the character is important to the films narrative, thus not giving too much away. Also there is a reference to someone or something wanting to be reborn- is this the same creature seen throughout the trailer, as though they are a ghost. The film try’s to develop into a mistery by adding things such as the problem with the woman’s eye, it is unclear whether this is important overall but it keeps the audience guessing and making assumptions. The further mistery surrounding the possibility that the main character has a sibling means the audience is kept in suspense.

What is the trailers narrative structure?
The narrative structure of this particular trailer could be considered rather standard, first of the main character is introduced, in this trailer this is the babysitter at the beginning, after this the second main character considered to be the demonic looking child is flashed on the screen. Following this the genre is identified using a range of scenes such as the graveyard, the projector footage which the woman is watching also has a horror quality to it, as the footage flashes from the woman’s horrified face to the image of a supernatural looking creature, this is likely to be towards the middle of the film, as the character has already been established. We then discover how the woman is being haunted by someone who has never been born, a link is suggested between the demonic looking child.

Footage of an exorcism is then shown presumably this will be towards the end of the film since this will most  likely be the weapon which succeeds against this evil spirit. After this scene the trailer then presents a range of fast action and moving edits which are likely mixed up scenes of the film and not shown in chronological order, this ensures the audiences does not make too many discoveries which may prevent them from watching the film. 

Which elements of the movies narrative are revealed?

The job of a film trailer is to lure the audience in and to hopefully entice them to buy or watch the film at the cinema. Elements of the narrative in the film that are revealed in the trailer are, the woman had a twin brother who died, the creature following the woman appears to be a small child, and is revealed to be something denied entry into the world because the woman is alive. It is assumed that at the end of the trailer the woman is possessed and therefore an exorcism is performed.

How are the following used for effect and to create meaning?

Sound: The tempo of the soundtrack used at the beginning of the trailer is kept reasonably slow, with only a few different notes being played while the characters are introduced, the soundtrack creates an uneasy air of tension and suspense. A number of bangs are used at pivotal moments when the characters are scared or shocked by something, therefore increasing the effect that it has on the audience itself. The soundtrack then turns more sinister with elements of screeching, creating an uneasy feeling among the audience, also the tempo increases slightly as the edits become faster.

Setting: Isolated setting, of the home in the middle of no-where. The use of an abandoned warehouse where the exorcism appears to take place, creating the idea that there is no-one around. 

Hair: The woman has long dark black/brown colour hair.
Baby monitor: This is how the boy at the beginning can be heard whispering.
Camera: Used to film the exorcism.
Projector: Used to show the woman the footage of the creature, the first shot we see in the trailer.

Make-up: Like many horrors the make-up is kept very pale, showing the fear that the character may have.

Expressions: Ranging from shock (gasp), Concern, Suprise, fear, and distress. 

Mise-en-scene: At the very beginning a house is pictured, and is shown to be isolated, it is large house and therefore there are lots of rooms where something might lurk. The scene at the graveyard where the woman is looking down towards a grave represents death.

Costumes: The woman's clothes are kept very plain, only a lightly coloured purple to, this sets the mood of the film, being rather dark and not bright and happy. Also the demonic child appears to be wearing rather dated dirty clothes suggesting that they may be from the distant past.

Lighting: Where possible the lighting is kept dark, except on day scenes although direct sunlight is not used here either.

Speed & Style of editing: The editing follows general trailer conventions, starting slow before speeding up towards the middle and then slowing back down again.

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