The Strangers Trailer – Textual Analysis
The first bit of the movie trailer sets the scene for the audience, and shows where the film is set. It shows a secluded house which appears to be in the woods, as there are trees around it. It is also set at night time. This is all very stereotypical of a horror film as the lonelyness of the house represents their vulnerability and the darkness represents danger and death. We then see the inside of the house. The interior is quite old fashioned which suggests the house does not belong to the young couple, and they are lighting candles, which could also adds to the horror theme. Enigma codes are introduced as the audience will be questioning what are they doing there? And where abouts are they?
The couple are middle aged and very well dressed, and they are very happy at the beginning of the trailer. The equilibrium is present , as nothing has gone wrong yet and the couple are still happy, this is also shown to the audience. This is also helped by the happy non digetic music. Suddenly there is a load bang and the couple start to panic. The tension is built very quickly as the audience are now introduced to a digetic sound of the swing outside. The couple are now feeling vunerable, and enigma codes are shown as the audience are questioning are they alone in the house?
The couple then look outside to check if anyone is there, showing that they are scared. There is still not a lot of light on the set, which fits in well with the horror genre. The expression on the womans face shows the audience that she is still worried about the situation, carrying on the second stage of the disequilibrium. She still thinks someone might be out there. She then goes up to the door and locks it, adding more tension and enigma codes.
Next, the villan is revealed in a long shot to the audience but not to the main characters as we can see him stood behind her. The music totally disappears, adding a lot of tension to the clip. Levi-Strauss theory is shown here as we can see the good vs. evil in one shot. Barthes theory has also been shown as we now know who the villan is that is disturbing the couple, but we still have the enigma codes of why are they doing it to them?
The villan now confronts the woman, and we see a shot of the woman kneeling on the floor and the villan standing over her. This shows representation of the woman being weak and vulnerable and the villan having power. This is also shown by a high angle shot looking down on the woman crying. The villans are all wearing masks meaning that their identity is not being revealed. This is very typical of the horror genre, as they want the audience to question what they look like. Again we are introduced to enigma codes. Loud digetic music is now being played.
We then find out that mysteriously the mans phone has been put on the fireplace and the record player has started playing. This hints that there is someone in the house. The music coming from the record player is very old fashioned and spooky, and fits in well with the horror genre as it is also tension building. Also mysterious writing has been written on the window saying ‘hello’.
A weapon is now introduced which adds to the horror of the film, as the shot quickly shows the axe knocking through the wood. As the villans are holdig the weapons, this shows that they have more power over the couple who are left vulnerable. This is very typical of a horror film. The facial expressions of the couple show that they are very scared and have no strength over the villans.
The room is still lit very poorly giving off a gloomy and spooky feeling, as well as the darkness from the outside. We then see the female character trying to escape from the villan, showing more of the storyline. Again the villan is standing over the woman showing the difference in power, and enigma codes are brought up again as the audience are wondering if she is going to escape or not.
We then see the good characters gaining power as we see the womans hand holding a knife. This represents protection but also death, fitting well into the horror genre. The music gets louder and louder adding to the tension. Finally near the end, we are shown a quick clip of the villans standing up over the couple as they are sat down, meaning that they have been caught, giving away more of the storyline. This is showing the couples vulnerability and the villans power over them. However at the very end of the trailer, we still don’t know if the couple survive or escape, as we are left with a shot of the female villan. This leaves the audience still questioning what actually happened, and therefore they are more likely to go out and watch the film.
The title of the film is shown in quite small white writing at the end of the trailer, and is quite hard to see. I would maybe make the font a bit more visible for the audience and the title of the film left playing for longer.