Genre is about dividing media into appropriate categories that have different codes, conventions and expectations from audiences in order for the media to reach the right audience and collect the best profits and ratings. This is especially prominent in film where genre is very clear cut and is used to decide the audience of the movie being made before its made. This also causes the audience to have certain expectations of the film they’re about to see when they purchase the dvd or the cinema ticket. This allows the producers of the film to easily asses what the audience is looking for and put the expected conventions into the film to get the best reviews and therefore increase revenue. This is good for the audience as it means they can easily asses the types of media they prefer to consume and pick out whatever they want to purchase according to the genre, and it is good for the producers as they know what their audience wants from their product and can cater to their needs.
The Thriller genre is all about emotional battles of wits between good and evil, heroes and villains and keeping the audience ‘on the edge of their seats’ which is done using the plot line, music and lighting. Thriller as a genre has been popular since before the film industry became popular. Lots of story books from the 18th century and before that have all the common conventions we have in modern thriller movies, such as the epic poem by Homer, The Odyssey, which was written in the ancient Greek era. This poem was later made into a play, which were a popular form of entertainment before movies and cinema existed. At the time The Odyssey would have either been called a tragedy or a comedy, as those were the only popular genres of the time. However his epic poem broke the normal conventions that allowed his work to stand alone from the standard of the time. Many people could have called this play an old time action adventure. I would say that today we could consider The Odyssey a thriller as the theme of constant battles of good vs evil throughout the poem and the use of emotion throughout constantly keeps the audience second-guessing what comes next. The book “Frankenstein” by Mary Shelly was written in the 18th century and though it was released as a horror it has many of the conventions we today would associate with a thriller. In the book there is a strong sense of good and evil, alone with more emotional factors such as death and love. At the time the book would have been considered a horror but by todays means it wouldn’t even be close to a horror as our views on what is horrifying has changed drastically since the publishing of “frankenstein”. Today it might be a paranormal thriller, or most probably a Scifi thriller, due to the conventions of the mad scientist and the theme of science being ever present in the novel. it is a good example of a thriller text as though it was written such an age ago in the 18th century it is still widely read and enjoyed today and is still relevant to the world today to the point of being taught in schools and having hundreds of reboots in literature, film, TV drama, comic books and artwork.
(from the Tim Burton Disney movie Frankenweenie 2012. A readapted, rebooted version of Mary Shellys ‘Frankenstien’ novel, targeted towards children)
In more modern times of films, Alfred Hitchcock is a highly acclaimed director and is considered to be one of the fist Thriller directors, directing films such as “The Man Who Knew Too Much” and “39 Steps”. In the days of Alfred Hitchcock’s first movies, thrillers were expected to mainly be psychologically testing, almost like crime dramas today they had a sense of supsense. The audience expected the film to keep them guessing till the end. The Thriller industry was based on more intellelcutal movies that had shocking plot twists and took the watcher on a rollercoaster of different emotions. In the days of Alfred Hitchcocks movies age ratings weren’t assigned to movies and it was down to parents as to what movies they wanted their children to see, however most of the time children did not expect to be accompanied to a Thriller movie as they weren’t particularly mature or frightening. Nowadays thriller films tend to feature higher age ratings due to bloody violence and more fear being introduced into the plot lines, such as “The Woman in Black” 2012, that has gore, violence and fear from the onset, gaining itself a 13A certificate rating.
The most popular idea of the film genre comes from the very popular and influential movie Scream, that came out in 1996 and has remained incredibly popular today, spurring 5 critically acclaimed sequels, numberous parodies and an audience as big as the genre it created, Scream was the first ‘Slasher’ film. A branch of of the classic Thriller genre,
The newly famous actress Jennifer Lawrence has recently rocketed in popularity due to her leading role in the thriller franchise “The Hunger Games”, however she has appeared in many Thriller movies before those ones such as “House at the End of the Street” playing the lead role of Elissa and has appeared in the “X-Men” movies “Days of Future Past” and “Apocalypse” as both characters Raven and Mystique. Her importance in modern media, especially thriller movies has made her a huge success, gaining a her a huge fan base and is a highly valued actress amoung directors as her part in a movie could potentially draw huge box office profits. this is because she has become connected to the genre, and therefore people expect what sort of movie it will be simply by the actress who performs in the movie. Her success can be highly accredited to her giant presence in the movie industry and she has received many awards for this, including an Oscar for best actress, a BAFTA and two Golden Globes.
The film “Inception” is highly acclaimed in the eyes of most directors, critics and the public alike due to its unique plotline and how it has became such a classic hit. The new technology used on set as well as in film was considered groundbreaking for its time and thus it now serves as one of the modern classics of the film era. Inception, directed by Christopher Nolan, became a giant hit from the onset as its fast paced, action packed, high budget trailer depicting New York city in a wreck of destruction and epic special effects took hold of its audience. Christopher Nolan, who already had a big name as a director by this point and Leonardo DiCaprio, who was then and is now to this day a highly cherished and talented Hollywood actor gave audiences across the world high expectations for Inception, and the movie, in my opinion, met the highest of expectations and deserved every praise it received. The movie is cinematic gold. From the top class acting from Leonardo DiCaprio and Ellen Page’s excellent performance as the female lead role, to the flawless special effects to the seamless editing throughout, this movie gave Action Thriller a new meaning. This movie combines the old with the new of the Thriller genre. Taking some of Alfred Hitchcock’s desire to play on the audiences mind and drive the thrill of the movie with emotion and having the watcher questioning right to the end, Nolan blends this with more modern expectations of thrillers, a fast paced action movie lies beneath this epic mind puzzle of a movie, earning it all the praise it deserves.
The Hunger Games
House at the End of the Street
Days of Future Past