Thursday, 20 October 2011

The insane

Jack Moynihan
Discuss the short film the insane in relation to the key concepts of media language and genre

The short film “the insane” is a film of the slasher horror genre directed by David j Ellison and Mark Cripps and was filmed in 2008. The film is based on a lone police detective John Vincent who butchered his family and has began killing innocent people but he believes that they are part of some cult and is delusional about their appearance .the film is set at Manchester Victoria station and the surrounding area with the majority of the film taking place on the station platform itself. The story of the film revolves around the delusional ex police detective john Vincent who believes he is purging the world of the cult that killed his family which in fact he butchered them and he is killing innocent civilians seeing them as monsters and murderers. The film uses the setting story and characters to build tension and shcok the audience with the twist at the end.

When comparing the film to the key concepts of media language and genre the setting of the film is the first section i will be analysing. The main setting of the film is Manchester Victoria station and the surrounding area. The opening sequence which shows the man at the end of the alleyway is a key concept of the horror genre as it is dark, rundown and empty which signifies danger and the unknown. The alley scene is the perfect setting to start the film because it signifies area is of the beaten track and help won’t be immediate if something bad happens. In my opinion the alley is a good setting for the opening scene as it allows the film to create tension as alleys are generally associated with the unknown and bad things in the horror genre. The other main setting of the film is Manchester Victoria station. This fits the horror genre in many ways. Firstly the station is a large area with tunnels and enclosed areas such as when the man with the chainsaw appears and chases the detective to the lift is a typical scene for m a film in the horror genre. In my opinion the station is perfect in relation to the key concepts of media language and genre as it is a large empty area which can build tension and excitement easily.

The characters in the film in insane in relation to the key concepts of media language and the horror genre are what you would expect to find. An example of this would be the character at the train station with the axe as he is a typical character form the horror genre as his demander and long hair and not being able to see his face connote evil. Another character that connotes horror is the woman who jumps on the man’s back at the train station as she is covered in blood and appears possessed. In my opinion the characters all fit the roles in the horror genre until the end where the supposed hero John Vincent turns out in fact to be the killer.
When looking at the props used in the film it is clear that the props used are accurate in relation to the horro genre and media language. The props such as the chainsaw , axe knife and crowbar are all associated with horro/slaher fimls and are used for a number of reasons. The chainsaw is a signature item used in many famous films and is used to signify death and danger and works well in “the Insane” because the sound of it connotes approaching danger. The axe and knife are also props commonly used in slasher films as they also signify horror and death. The costumes used by some of the characters such as the main with the chainsaw are typical of horror films as the sandbag on his head signifies that he has some sort of facial disfigurement or he is just unknown which also helps increase tension. In my opinion the props used in the film signify the horror genre and help bring tension and fear to the film.

The lighting used in the film has is different to that of the horror genre and the concepts of media language in the way that for most of the film the area is well lit and it is not the lighting that helps build the tension but the sound and props as there are only a few sections of the film where to lighting is used deliberately to create tension. These sections are in the alleyway at the start and near the end. These areas are generally dark but the lighting creates tension as the darkened environment represents the unknown and fear. In my opinion the lighting is not that similar to films in the horror genre and media language as the film is generally light for most of it and it build tension and suspense with other forms such as props sound and characters.

The sound in the “Insane” is one of the main ways that it fulfils the media genre and media language as it is one of the main ways the film portrays itself as a horror. The use of sound is used to create tension and fear from the sound of the chainsaw to grunting and screams caused by some characters and also the silence. The chainsaw sound is used throughout the horror genre and when used in the insane it connotes danger and helps build tension as it signifies the character wielding it is near. Also the silence used also signifies fear and helps build tension as it connotes that something bad is about to happen. In my opinion sound is a big part of the film in relation to media language and the horror genre as it is the main ingredient in building tension and fear.

In conclusion the film “the insane” is a good representation of the horror genre as it uses a wide variety of characters, plot twists and sound to create tension and fear and also challenge the conventions f the standard horror film with the plot twist at the end. The setting, lighting and props also fit the conventions of the horror genre and also help create fear and tension.

Smashed analysis

Jack Moynihan
Smashed analysis
The short film Smashed is directed by peter Snelling and was filmed in 2009. The setting of the film takes place in a typical English town in Somerset full of pubs club and bars which are frequented by the characters. The film consist of four main characters (two boys two girls) who start the night of separate from each other in groups but their paths cross over the course of the night after a pregnancy links them together. The main plot of the story revolves around the characters nights out, alcohol and recovering the pieces from the night before. The film was funded by Avon and Somerset police to possibly raise alcohol awareness and the consequences of drinking excessively.  My essay will analyse the film smashed and its technical codes to identify their use by the director and what they mean.

The films setting is a town in Somerset which is used to replicate a typical English town with an array of bars and clubs that the characters use throughout the night. The setting is given a gritty round down view with various camera shots highlighting council estates and empty shops which signifies deprivation and could link to the theme of the characters constantly drinking as they do not have much to look forward to and also the shots could have been used by the director to signify that not only are the characters lives drab and depressing but so is the town and its architecture. The setting also gives the film a meaning of a typical English town implying that the events that take place here don’t just happen in big cities like London. Another meaning of the chosen setting could link in with the film being funded by Somerset and Avon police who would want people to be able to recognise and relate to the local area so they would realise the problems affect everyone not just people in big cities and from the directors point of view the funding from Somerset and Avon police gives him a clear message to portray about alcohol and its effects but furthermore allow the audience to interact with the characters and location and make the audience if the characters actions in the film portray the audiences actions on a night out.

The characters in the film consist of two groups of friends (two boys two girls) who have met each other before in a following night. The two characters Estelle and Sam are connected during the night out by the fact that Estelle is pregnant possibly with Sam’s baby , and as teen pregnancy is a problem in this day and age the pregnant character may have been chosen to allow the audience to relate to their own lives with that off the character. All of the characters are portrayed as alcoholics which is highlighted throughout the film with phrases as “let’s get slaughtered” and “i just want to get smashed” being used by the characters to signify the average teenager and a dependency on alcohol for to have a good time. These quotes show that the characters main motive is alcohol and its effects and the meaning of this could be a move by the director to try and portray the youth of today by implying that they are focused on alcohol. Also the fact that when the characters are not drinking they seem to be reflecting on the night before and their problems and they appear to drink to forgot their problems and sorrows which could connote that thay have nothing to look forward to in their lives and hte director could b trying to interact with the audience by linking these problems to them.

The film uses a variety of propos which have different meanings with some being clearly visible while some are hidden and subliminal. The main prop with a hidden message is the egg at the beginning of the film as it highlights the possible pregnancy between the two characters but then when the egg is squashed it then puts in question the health of the baby and if it is going to be harmed by the binge drinking or if it is going to be aborted also the shape and colour of the egg is questionable as it is not pure white and round but distorted an grubby which could have been a move by the director to signify that the egg represents the woman’s baby and it is distorted and grubby because the pregnancy was stained by alcohol and may not last.. Another prop with a hidden meaning is the cab card which the girls pickup at the beginning of the night  when they are not drunk to get home after their night out and the fact that the camera shows two shots of the woman picking up the card signifies the director wanted to make it clear that she was thinking clearly and being sensible. But later on when the girls need a cab and they are drunk they completely forget about the card suggesting that you don’t think when under the influence of alcohol and this is highlighted by the illegal taxi and the cameras focus on the bleach and rope signifies that the night could have ended differently for the girl if she didn’t get out and the director want this idea to play on the audiences mind.

The use of the camera in the film helps convey across many messages and meanings. The close ups of the characters faces at the begging and the end of the film are used to signify emotion on many occasions such as the panic on the face of the girl gets into a random man’s car and the director reinforces hte fear of getting inot the illegal taxi with the bottles of bleach and rope which signify the man does not have good intentions . Also the close up shot is used to express the happiness of Estelle and Sam when they meet in the club and finally get talking to each other. In another seen the camera snaps back and forth to signify a awkward moment between Sam and the other girl as they are looking for Estelle. The fluid movement of the camera shots as they characters is used to signify not only a faster pace and atmosphere but is also supposed to signify the characters movements as they are drunk and will not be in control. Another shot that is used by the director to connote mystery and suspense amongst the audience is that of when the woman get sout of the illegal taxi as the audience does not know if anything has happen dot her s this shot is open for interpretation about what happened to the woman in the cab and the director uses this to play on the audiences mind and warn them about illegal taxis.
The use of lighting in the film helps set the scene and helps add hidden meanings to some scenes. At the start of the film the when the characters begin drinking the lighting signifies that it is probably the late morning early/afternoon so it highlights how the characters have a daily routine of drinking. The lighting also signifies the mood of the characters especially in scene cab scene where the low lighting that vaguely outlines the bottles of bleach and string alerts the audience that something is not right.

Sound is also used heavily in the film and in some scenes is used to signify events and the characters state of mind. Firstly sound is used at the beginning of the film to create a sad atmosphere as the character ponders over the brown bag containing the pregnancy test. Later on in the film the sound is used to signal the end of the night as each of the characters find them facing a new set of problems caused by alcohol such as accepting a lift of a stranger. The sound is also used at the end of the film in the form of music to highlight the fact that the characters are going to repeat the cycle of going out and getting drunk.

The elements of the setting , props , camera , lighting and sound all work together in many ways to create an overall world within the film and create meaning for the audience such as the way the cab card shows that you do not think straight when under the influence of alcohol as the character got into a strangers car. The setting also does this as it is a Standard English town that the audience can relate to and allows the characters to portray themselves as your average 20 year olds. The lighting and sound also help create an overall world within the film and meaning for the audience as both the sound and lighting help create moods and build tension and also signify key events/emotions.