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Analysis of an Opening Sequence: Scream

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G321 Analysis of an Opening Sequence Scream
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   Angel Bird  Analysis of an Opening Sequence  –  Scream The first thing the audience hear is a non-diegetic female voice screaming. This is an audio representation of the title of the film, and helps the audience infer that the genre of the film is likely to be thriller/horror as someone generally screams when they are in danger. The scream creates suspense and curiosity from the audience as they wonder why the character is screaming and what danger they are in, which makes them interested in the storyline of the film from the very beginning. Whilst the audience hear the scream, they also hear a non-diegetic heartbeat and phone ringing. The heartbeat helps to build tension, and the ringing phone makes the audience wonder what a household object would have to do with a horror film. The phone ringing also acts as a soundbridge into the first scene and the screaming introduces a female character. At the same time as the non-diegetic sound, the title of the film appears on the screen. At first the title is in white, which may suggest an innocence and vulnerability to the characters in the film, which would make sense to the audience as during a horror film there is likely to be many victims. However, within seconds the titles have turned red, which may suggest a more sinister undertone to the film. In addition, the colour red connotates danger and is the colour of blood which may foreshadow the theme of death throughout the film. In the opening scene, the camera shows a phone ringing and then pans upwards to show a young woman answering it. The fact that the main character in a horror film is a woman is stereotypical as it is likely she will find herself in danger and be unable to defend herself. In addition, the woman is wearing a white top which connotates purity and vulnerability. A medium close up of the woman is shown when she answers the phone. This is used so that the audience can see her facial expression, but also see the window behind her, which shows them that it is night time as it is dark outside. This makes the character more vulnerable as she is clearly alone late at night. When the woman answers the phone, a diegetic male voice is heard. Straight away this suggests that he may be the villain as stereotypically in horror films the villain is a male who has more power than the female character. However, at this point in the scene the audience are put at ease because the woman’s facial expression is relaxed and her voice is calm. This gives the audience a false sense of security and puts them at ease as it suggests that nothing bad will happen.   Angel Bird When the character puts the phone down, the camera follows her and zooms out when she begins to walk away. This, again, gives the audience a false sense of security as it suggests the main action of the scene may be finished. However, this is interrupted by the diegetic sound of a phone ringing again. When the phone rings, the woman’s facial expression is shown to be confused and slightly worried which helps to build tension as the audience wonder why the caller is calling back. When asked, the caller replies he wanted to ‘apologise’, which suggests to the audience that something isn’t right. There is a close up on Drew Barrymore’s character whilst she is having a conversation with the unknown male on the phone. In this shot, the window is visible outside, which not only further highlights that it is late at night but also shows the secluded nature of the house. There is nothing visible through the window which builds suspense as it suggests that the large house may not be on a normal street, which means that it would be more difficult for the female character to get help if she needs it.  After the character puts the phone down again, the camera cuts to an establishing long shot of the house. This is the first time during the sequence that the camera cuts to an outside location, which suggests something bad might happen shortly after. During this shot, there is ambient sound of crickets which infers the house is not in an urban area as no other sounds can be heard. In addition to the crickets, you can also hear the diegetic sound of a swing creaking. This creates apprehension as the unusual creaking of the swing is  juxtaposed with the noise of crickets the audience expect to hear. At this point in the sequence, the director is focusing on the audience’s hearing as the sequence then cuts to a stove being put on and a pan being placed on the stove which would make the audience  jump slightly as they are already expecting something bad to happen. When the phone rings again, the camera pans around to see Drew Barrymore’s character answering it. In the foreground of this shot a knife block is shown which may suggest to the audience that there is upcoming danger and foreshadow an upcoming death. The audience follow the character’s journey around the house that she makes, which shows them possible exits and entrances that the killer may use. This helps to build suspense. At this point in the opening sequence, the editing is quite slow paced which helps build tension as the audience are getting more and more fearful that something bad is going to happen. During the whole sequence, the editing is mostly continuous to keep building tension before the main action happens.
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