Mirrors trailer analysis.


The mirrors trailer shows a clear beginning, middle and end structure. The beginning of the trailer is where the protagonist gets a job, leaving his family at home.

He then starts his job and realises that the place is haunted. This is the disruption of equilibrium which is therefore the height of film, according to Todorov and his theory.

At the end of the trailer, it is clear that the protagonist’s family are at risk, although the trailer ends without finding out whether they are harmed or not. This uses Barthes ‘her’ code as it uses enigmas to leave the audience asking, what is going to happen next?

At the start of the film, the music is slow and calm and therefore gives a sense of normality as the family man sets off for work. When he is looking round his new job, the music starts to become a lot louder and quicker as it comes up to the disruption in equilibrium.

This shows the audience that something bad is going to happen, which is conventional for a horror film. The opposition of light and dark is portrayed here and therefore uses Levi-Strauss’ opposition theory. Here the dark is used to create a mystery in the building as darkness makes things seem hidden. The protagonist uses a torch to find his way around, and to reveal things.

This is where the opposition is shown. Quick camera shots are used to uses enigma codes as not everything is shown the audience before the shot jumps onto the next. This is a successful strategy for a film trailer as it makes the audience want to go and watch the film by teasing them. The music throughout the trailer is non-diegetic although the sound effects, like crashing etc is diegetic along with the dialogue. These things change throughout the trailer as at the beginning, when things are calm, the dialogue is a lot quieter and as the trailer goes on, and the camera shots quicken, the dialogue becomes louder as people are shouting and screaming. This is conventional for a horror film and follows the ‘cause and effect’ structure which Propp included into his theory. The cause being in Mirrors, that the protagonist has a job in a haunted building, and the effect being that him and his family get attacked. This is another convention in this genre as a haunted building is used a lot in horror films.

Rick Altman’s theory is also introduced in the Mirrors trailer as iconography is used throughout. Pieces of sharp glass, and scissors which can clearly harm somebody are used in this trailer to convey the genre of the film. Altman said that certain signs are used in genres. This trailer starts as a set of semantic elements and it isn’t until the certain signs, like iconography come into play, that the audience know the genre of the film.

The characters in Mirrors hint the target audience of the film as here it is clear to be older due to the storyline of the film which is similar to that of other horror films. Although there is a child in this film, this doesn’t mean that the target audience would be the age of the child. It is what happens to the child in this narrative that shows that the target audience would be old, as they would have to cope with the storyline. Due to stereotypes, I believe that this film is aimed at around 18 – 30 year olds although this would work when thinking of the story.

When the film is calm at the beginning, the edit of the shots are fades, therefore this adds the calm atmosphere leaving the audience to feel on edge as they know something is going to happen. As the film goes on, and the disruption happens, the shots cut into eachother showing the idea of panic and therefore portraying the genre of the film. These are mixed with quick camera shots also adding to this idea, as the shots at the start of the trailer are longer, introducing characters to the film. There are a number of times in the trailer where the shot fades to black although the sound carrys on through the shot. The black screen shows that something is hidden and therefore this creates an enigma as the audience cannot see what is happening although they can hear it. This happens at the end of the trailer where the release date is shown in white font against the dark background which portrays again the opposition of light and dark.

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