During class tonight, my classmates and I shared what we want to focus on for our photo essays and what types of cameras we wanted to use in order to convey a specific message.
When I went to see The Woman in Black with my mother over the weekend, the trailer for Silent House, starring Elizabeth Olsen and opening in theaters on March 9, came on. For the two and a half minutes the trailer played, my mother and I could not breathe. I said in a previous post that I’m not a fan of horror movies, but after seeing this trailer, I wanted to try to dissect it to see why it had such an profound impact on the two of us.
Here’s the trailer; it’s very intense, so I’m giving you fair warning.
According to the movie’s Facebook page, “Silent House uses meticulous camera choreography to take the audience on a tension-filled, real time journey, experienced in a single uninterrupted shot.” You obviously can’t tell that from the trailer, but narrowing down the film’s perspective to tell the story solely from the protagonist’s point of view is a risky move, but in the trailer it pays off in spades. In addition to the limited perspective, not allowing the audience to break away from the conflict builds up the tension and fear for the characters.
Another interesting technique employed in this trailer is the use of Polaroid pictures. Ironically, Polaroids also came up in class tonight. I personally haven’t seen a Pollaroid camera since I was a kid, but here in this trailer there is nothing even remotely nostalgic about them. If anything, they only add to the terror but providing only brief flashes of clarity before plunging the viewers back into darkness and disorientation. The editors chose to begin and end the trailer with the Polaroids, which according to Wikipedia is “an instant camera that generates a developed film image.” Not only does the use of Polaroids emphasizes the fact that the movie is in real time, but also leads me to believe that they are a vital part of the plot.
I can honestly say that I will not be going to see this movie when it comes out (if the trailer scared me as much as it does, then I can’t imagine sitting through 88 minutes of more of the same), but the use of a singular perspective, real time filming in one uninterrupted shot, and Polaroids make this horror film look truly terrifying.