Researching Scare Elements – The Strangers

To get a better understanding of how effective elements of scary movies are (e.g. jump scares, atmospheric music) I have researched into some of the highly recommended scary scenes that have been aired throughout the years in cinema and TV.

The Strangers (2008)

The Strangers is a horror movie which plays into the mental vulnerability of an audience. It focuses on a couple who visit a house out in the woods, who are then terrorised by three masked maniacs. The Strangers is considered so effective by many critics as it plays with the fear that people are in your home, watching you and ready to scare you.

As stated in my treatment, I am using my own house as a location for my piece of video that aims to bring fear into audiences because your own home is somewhere you would consider as ‘safe’. By choosing to use my own home I will be able to create fear into my audience straight away as I am using the scenario that most people dread – somebody being in your house while you’re at home. The Strangers has done the exact same thing by using a cabin that is known to the characters and a cabin that they have visited many times before. By placing these masked figures inside the house it gets rid of all boundaries, making the film unpredictable as anything could happen.

The scene I have inserted below is considered to be one of the most tense and vulnerable scenes throughout the movie, so this is the one that I have chosen to analyse.

This scene is a perfect example of how suspense and fear is created without anything dramatic happening. It also relates perfectly to my previously analysed article,” So you want to make a horror film?”, as it includes many of the basic elements that have been proven to work within horror movies.

Small aspects of the scene, such as at 1:58 when a loud thud creates a basic jump scare is a simple but effective way of creating anticipation and fear within the audience. Nothing is seen but the scenarios that are associated with the jump scare is what makes the audience fearful. It has been proven that audiences are affected more by what they can’t see than what they can.



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