Statement Of Intent My intent for this project is to create a live action, horror-influenced film. However, I am going to try and create more of a gloomy drama with horror features as opposed to a ‘true’ horror film. In order to do this, I am going to have a plot that relies more on the characters and their actions, and instead use horror inspirations in the style of film making. In particular, I am hoping to experiment with the use of light and sound to create unease. For my film, there are two main influences that I will work from. One is a film, and one is a videogame series.
They all share similar styles and themes, which is why I have chosen to use them as influences in my work. Influence 1: The first influence is a film called ‘The Ghost’. It is a Korean horror film by Tae-Kyung Kim. From this, I have decided to draw upon the technique, where dreams and flashbacks give information and create atmosphere. The main reason for this in ‘The Ghost’ is because the main character suffers from amnesia, and gradually recalls things. In my film, I am planing for the character to be thinking back over the series of events that lead to what is happening at the present moment and so things will be gradually revealed.
Also, I am intrigued by the use of lighting in ‘The Ghost’. Instead of using the red lighting typical in horror films, it uses dark, shadowed lighting with green and blue tints, an example being the scenes with the main character’s mother. During these scenes, the lighting is very dark, with lots of shadows in the room, and a green tint to the light, which helps with the horror aspect of the film, which involves drowning, as it gives the feel of being underwater. This holds significance in that film due to the storyline, but I am still interested in the use of different colours and levels of lighting to create atmosphere.
I hope to use this in my own film. Influence 2: The second, and possibly stronger inspiration I have chosen is the ‘Silent Hill’ Playstation game series, specifically the first and second games. I plan to study their style in mise-en-scene, sound, and camerawork in the cutscenes. The mise-en-scene often contains a lot of symbolism in it, with small details such as pictures on walls and items on desks often holding significance to the plot or characters. There is particular emphasis placed on symbolism in nightmares and the fears and subconscious feelings of the characters.
One example is the iconic monster ‘Pyramid Head’, which is a monster that features a lot in the second game. It is found out towards the end of the game that it is in fact a nightmare version of a painting of a traditional town executioner found in town. This has symbolism because the main character has a desire to be punished that is manifested as Pyramid Head – a monstrous version of an executioner. Mise-en-scene is used very effectively in the first game, with lots of things such as pictures of monsters/origins of monsters scattered around, and many items used in solving puzzles being related to children’s books.
These all reference the mind of the child from which the nightmare came from. The soundtrack, particularly in the first game, is unique. Instead of using recognisable music, the soundtrack is mostly made up of scraping, squeaking and tapping noises that get louder and more chaotic when tension is meant to build. A good example of this is near the end of the game, where several items are needed to unlock a door. As they are put in one by one, the soundtrack starts out as silence, then an ominous hum, then a slight tapping is added. A high-pitched whistle starts soon afterwards, and the tapping grows louder and more echoing.
Then the hum grows louder and the tapping turns into clattering, as if someone is hitting a metal sheet. By the time that all the items are in place, the noise has become metallic crashing, a screeching noise like a whistling kettle, all underlaid by a low, monotonous hum. This build of tension is created using entirely sound. The videogames also use restricted vision extremely well. The horror aspect is almost entirely based on your character’s vision being incredibly restricted, with predominantly dark locations illuminated by torchlight. For the most part, you are aware of a monster being nearby without knowing where or what it is.
This helps give a feeling of powerlessness as well as fear and tension, which I am hoping to include in my film. Finally, the ‘camerawork’ in the cutscenes, especially the second game, is very good. There is a particularly effective close-up of one character where it shows her face and a knife that she was going to use to kill herself, making both her expression and her intent clear in one shot. Another good piece of ‘camerawork’ is in a confrontation between two characters where the angle changes rapidly, making the whole thing feel disjointed, unnerving and surreal. My Film In my film, I am planning to make a psychological horror-drama.
I am going to utilise the theme that runs through both my inspirational materials, which is the idea of the past and buried horrors in the mind of an individual surfacing to haunt them. My intention is not so much to shock the audience with these things, but to create a feeling of unease and mystery. As mentioned earlier, to portray the main character’s feelings of fear and isolation, I am going to look into the use of restricted lighting, such as torchlight or single areas of light in darkened places to show how the character feels as if they are lost in shadows and all alone.
Another lighting device I will use is the colour of the light. I am especially interested in blue-tinted light, as it can either make a scene seem dark and shadowy or bleached out depending on the shade of blue, and also lends a dreamlike feel to the scene, which furthers the idea I am planning to use, where the whole story could be either a real haunting or a delusion.
For camerawork, the two predominant shots will be close-ups to show emotion, and long shots to make the characters seem small and alone. The strong and complex symbolism used in ‘Silent Hill’ will be difficult to reproduce in a short film, so I will instead use mise-en-scene to signify whether or not something is a dream, and also refer to important plot devices, such as a photograph of the main character and their dead friend appearing a lot.
With sound, I am going to experiment with strange noises, particularly scraping, tapping and whispering as well as other quiet noises to create an atmosphere of tension, as if there is something else there that cannot be seen. This will be used instead of real music. Overall, through these features, I hope to create tension, mystery and unease, as well as portray the fragile mindset of the main character, and their growing distress as events continue.