Friday, 16 April 2010

Opening Title of 'Judgement'

This is the opening title of the film Judgement. As you can see.

Script for the Radio Broadcast in 'Judgement'

(Charlotte) Radio Interviewer: The body of *dead girl's name* was discovered this morning at 6am by local dog walker Mildred Butterworth. It has been 24 hours since she was reported missing, Nottinghamshire Police are yet to name any suspects. Here is Mildred with her shocking account...
(Toni) Mildred Butterworth: I was taking little Rosie out on her morning stroll when I turned a corner, I saw her lying there, I thought she was just some drunk asleep in the woods, then, I realised, she was dead."

Media Theory in 'Judgement'

Barthe's Enigma Code
This is the theory that suggests a text portrays a mystery to draw the audience in. We included this theory within our film opening by not revealing the identity of the murderer in the story, hence the audience will become intrigued as to who was behind the crime and continue to watch with interest until the problem has been solved.

Todorov's Theory
This is the theory that a text begins with a period of equilibrium until an event takes place to disrupt and cause disequilibrium. This is then followed by the protagonists' journey to a renewed state of peace, bringing the chaos to an end.
The story of Judgement however doesn't particularly follow this structure exactly. It does not start off in a state of calm, as when we see the girl running in the opening shot she is clearly distressed, so the first stage of the narrative theory is missed out.
Throughout the rest of the film however we witness her struggle to try to bring back the sense of balance, which she almost achieves. This is when she is investigating the murders to try to solve the mystery.
However in the end equilibrium is not renewed because there is an ending twist, where she discovers that she is actually the killer without even having realising it. Causing the film to end in on a sad note, even though the matter has been resolved.

Aristotle's Unities
This is the theory that narratives should be created with a unity of time, place and action. So the story should take place at the same location, in chronological order and with all actions moving towards are logical and moral conclusion.
The opening of Judgement however does not follow this theory as parallel editing is used to show the present time alongside the past and later on when the woman is being interviewed on the radio a flashback is shown.

Friday, 26 March 2010

Evaluation- The Opening Two Minutes of 'Judgement'

When creating the first two minutes of our film we took inspiration from existing media related to the genre of horror, whilst still trying to produce something interesting, original and true to our initial idea. Our use of camera work at times is intentionally shaky; we did this to create a sense of chaos and confusion for the viewer, much like in films such as Cloverfield(2008) and The Blair Witch Project(1999).

This is a screen shot of Judgement to show the use of shaky camerawork.

The opening of the film uses parallel editing, this enables you see both the shots of Tammy running through the woods and Alex sat at her graveside. This technique also shows a non-chronological ordering of events, with the objective of revealing to the viewer the outcome of one of the events shown before it has happened. The flash-forward used plays with their mind as they tensely await the inevitable. This is different compared to typical films of this genre, which use the fact that the audience is unaware of the protagonist’s fate to create suspense. This also clashes with Aristotle's Unities where all events happen in linear storyline.

However in order to keep the audience interested we use a different tactic. Instead of keeping them intrigued by leaving them unaware of the girl's fate, we entice them by not revealing the identity of the killer. And only using Point Of View shots to see the situation through the murderer's eyes. This links to Barthe's Enigma Code where there has to be some kind of mystery to be solved in order to keep the viewer involved, entertained and on the edge of their seat.

Camera shots used that are typical of the horror genre include the close-up of Alex's eye. The non-deigetic sound of a pulse and the timing of the jump cut to this image add to the creepy atmosphere we intended to create.

The mise-en-scene and setting we chose is rather commonly used in horror movies. The filming location of the woods has no clear identity; it could be in the middle of nowhere or half a mile away from a town, this causes the audience to worry for the girl’s safety, when they can see she is distressed from the mid-shots of her facial expression. Another location we shot in was a graveyard, a destination that is commonly linked to 'scary' connotations such as Death, a theme which is appropriate for this genre and the subject of murder being explored in this film.

This is a picture of Portland Park Woods where some scenes the opening two minutes were shot.

An aspect of our film that deviates from the norm of horror however is that it is set in daylight opposed to during the darkness of night, we did this because we thought it gave the impression that 'the killer’ could attack you at anytime, anyplace. A tactic intended to add to the fearful atmosphere we attempted to create.

The non-diegetic sound used in our opening two minutes, played when the girl is running, is quite a simple beat that resembles the sound of a heartbeat. This is a common sound convention of horror as it connotes a rise in adrenaline, hence fear. This also gives a feeling that time is slowed down as this terrifying event unfolds, a sensation which can happen in real life when people are put into horrifying situations . This enables the audience to be able relate to the situation of the protagonist, something that is very important in the genre of horror. This is because if the audience do not connect with the character, then they do not care about what happens to them, which is the whole point of creating a sense of fear within the viewer, because they can then empathize with the girl.

Other non-diegetic sound consists of the instrumental tune from the song Hallelujah by Jeff Buckley, this is played during the radio broadcast, this is supposed cause the listener to feel sorrow for the girl’s death. Again relating to the attempt to get the audience to empathize with the character's dilemmas, essential for the horror genre. Diegetic sound includes Alex’s scream; we raised the volume of this so that the piercing noise would create a fuller affect of fright for the audience.

The characters in our film do not predominantly fit into any particular ‘stereotype’, which are often portrayed in films of this kind. Even though you can only see the first opening minutes of the film, we tried to make our characters seem like ‘normal’ people instead of categorizing them. Throughout the rest of film the character's personalities will reveal them to be much more than two-dimensional and generic, but have depth and originality. The mise-en-scene of the costumes they wear are everyday clothes, such as jeans and t-shirts; they do not belong to any obvious social group.

The sort of media institution that would distribute our film would be something like Fox Searchlight Pictures, a film division of the infamous 20th Century Fox. This particular establishment specialises mainly in ‘indie’ and British films, it has released many movies in the horror genre such as 28 Days Later(2002) and The Hills Have Eyes(2006). Both of which were successful at the box office and are generally well known amongst film watchers.

Advertisement for 28 Days Later.

The movie poster for The Hills Have Eyes.

We plan to give our film a viewing certificate of 18; this is due to the violence and language that will take place throughout. This means that our target audience will be mainly young adults. Ways in which we would attract this audience would be through a marketing campaign consisting of: eye-catching posters and billboards, memorable trailers on television and in the cinema, websites and advertisements on the Internet and promotion from televideon or magazine interviews with those involved with the making of the film (i.e.- the actors); hereby mixing more traditional advertising techniques with more modern ones.

This is the certificated age rating we intend to give our film.

I have personally learnt much about media technologies throughout the process of constructing this product. My group and I used Adobe Premiere Elements to edit our clips we had shot together, I was rather new to video editing when we first began the project but I found this software package easy to use and understandable. We all shared the responsibility of editing and each had individual tasks outside the editing room, i.e. collecting the suitable background music to be used and each researching our own chosen media. Special effects we used include flashes, fading, slow motion etc., all of which were available on this programme.

I also learnt a lot more about using filming equipment such as how to work the video cameras themselves and the tripods, that helped to keep the shots steady when appropriate. Due to filming restrictions we were unable to use shots such as Bird’s Eye View shots and Fast Tracking shots, which we most likely would have used under the circumstances of if this were a large budget project.
Compared to the preliminary task, I have progressed far more in my understanding of film making. Instead of being stuck in one limited location with a simple and dull plot, we were given the opportunity to be creative and produce something more personally rewarding. My group and I had the freedom to write our own plot and script, and to choose our own settings. By having more passion for what you are creating can only be beneficial for the end product.

Synpotic Treatment of 'Judgement'

Horror films, they have had an undeniable appeal to audiences ever since movie-making began. But what is it that draws people to this genre? Whether it is the exhilaration of being frightened or if you are just a little bit sadistic- the fun of watching such movies has become almost a cult-like fad in its own right.
However over the years these types of films seem to have lost respect amongst the cinematic industry, mainly due to their lack of an interesting plotline. A lot of creators appear to be mainly concerned with filling their 90 minutes with as much blood and gore as possible without actually telling an impacting story; surely this isn’t the fate of dark entertainment.
Judgement is the answer the world has been waiting for. It tells the tale of Alex Winchester, a young woman whose life takes a turn into the terribly bizarre when many of those she knows and loves in her small hometown consecutively become victims to violent deaths.
The local police seem incapable of tracking down any probable suspects, so she takes the case into her own hands and begins investigating the brutal attacks- all of which end in fatality. As she does this the homicides carry on, along with the declining strength of her sanity; continuously tormented with intense horrific visions and experiencing strange encounters.
Eventually it is revealed that Alex is in fact a ghost, trapped in the realm between life and death. She has the power to affect objects around her but is incapable of communicating with the living, not only this, but she suffers from the mental condition Dissociative Identity Disorder. She has a split personality. One side of her psyche has good intentions and is initially unaware that she is even a spirit. But her evil alter-ego remembers everything about Alex’s demise and is hell-bent on wreaking vengeance upon all she can find. Alex herself is the true murderer.
There are three directors in mind to manage this screenplay, all Oscar nominated. The first is Spike Jonze. He is extremely versatile having worked in comedy, fantasy, drama, documentary and more. He is currently best known for the surreal Being John Malkovich(1999). His greatly anticipated adaptation of the legendary children’s book Where the Wild Things Are(2009) is shortly due to be released.
Another is David Fincher; he has directed the likes of Se7en(1995) and Fight Club(1999), two fantastic films. He has a gritty edge to his directing style and these stories both have similar themes to Judgement such as searching for a serial killer and suffering from multiple personalities.
Lastly is Christopher Nolan, his most recent success was with the Batman Begins (2005)sequel The Dark Knight(2008) (with the late Heath Ledger’s captivating performance as The Joker) but he also directed the bizarre film Memento(2000) about a man with short-term memory loss and it is told in a non-linear timeline; both ideas that will be explored in Judgement.
There is only one actress currently in mind to play the lead role of Alex, Evan Rachel Wood. She had her ‘big break’ in the controversial Thirteen(2003), even at such a young age she proved to have a genuine talent for acting. Her latest exploits include a part in The Wrestler(2008) and she had a memorable role in HBO’s hit television series True Blood.
Other films that Judgement could be compared to would be The Sixth Sense(1999) and The Others(2001) because they both have an ending twist where the lead protagonist discovers that they are actually ghosts. Both these films have been successful so it shows that people are intrigued by this philosophical notion, causing the individual to question: What would I do if this happened to me? Also by being able to relate to the characters it makes what happens to them all the more disturbing.
A possible release date for Judgement would be the 13th of October, as it’s the host month of Halloween and the number 13 is seen by many to maintain a cursed mystical meaning. This raises excitement prior to its release and elevates the publicity hype.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Overview of Genres by Iona English

Information provided by


The horror genre aims to create panic, cause dread, alarm, and to invoke our deepest hidden fears and emotions, while captivating and entertaining the audience. This genre, like others, continues to develop in new or improved ways, with thing such as special effects improving helping to create a more realistic and limitless world. Horror has recently moved away from stories with a religious or supernatural basis, which used to dominate the genre, to ones making use of medical or psychological ideologies.

Horror films effectively center on the dark side of life, including taboo, strange and alarming events or actions. They deal with our most primal nature and its fears: our nightmares, our vulnerability, our alienation, our revulsion's, our terror of the unknown, our fear of death and dismemberment, loss of identity, or fear of sexuality. Their plots frequently involve themes of death, the supernatural or mental illness. Many horror movies also include a central villain. Most dark, primitive, and revolting traits that fascinate and revolt us are featured in the horror genre. Horror films are often combined with science fiction when the menace or monster is related to a corruption or advancement of technology, or when Earth is threatened by aliens which are terrifying and evil in nature.

A classic convention of modern horror is to include young beautiful teenagers, often played by well known celebrities at the time e.g. Paris Hilton in House of Wax (2005), who get brutally killed by some supernatural creature. This convention is used a lot now as it appeals to a wide audience and makes film companies a lot of money at the box office. However beautiful young women have been used since the beginning of horror as a way to portray everything that it innocent and good in the world.


The Fantasy genre includes films that usually have themes involving magic, supernatural events, make-believe creatures, or exotic fantasy worlds. The genre is considered to be separate and distinct in its own right from science fiction and horror, although the genres often over lap.


Mystery is a sub-genre of the more general category, Crime film. It focus's on the efforts of the Detective, PI or 'armature sleuth', who must solve the mystery behind a terrible crime that has occurred; by means of clues, investigation, persistence and clever deduction.

Mystery films often follow two plot types, Open and Closed. The Closed story type conceals the true identity of the perpetrator until late in the story, adding the element of surprise during the suspects apprehension as the audience never truly know who it is, this causes the classic 'edge of the seat' feeling that mystery is so well known for. The Open mystery story type is in direct contrast to that of the Closed. As the title suggests, from the beginning of the film, the story is "Open" about the true identity of the criminal. The audience usually follows the 'Perp' throughout the movie as they commit the "perfect crime" and continue to elude the police, usually through clever planning or just plain luck.

Mystery usually follows either Todorov's Theory; where everything starts in harmony but then a crime is committed and everything is thrown into a "disequilibrium" and the hero/ main character has to solve the mystery for the equilibrium to be restored, or the follow Barthe's Enigma Code; the story starts with a problem, the "enigma" will then be establish as time goes on and in the very end the problem will be solved.

Horror and Mystery

Suspense is often maintained throughout out these movies as an important plot element. This can be done throughout the use of camera angles, sound track, mise-en-scene and surprising plot twists. Many directors, such as Alfred Hitchcock, use all of these techniques, but will sometimes allow the audience in on a pending threat and then draw out the moment for dramatic effect, however the time this is done for has to be precise; too long and the audience looses interest, too short and they expect it and are not half as surprised as they could be.

History of Horror By Iona English

Information provided from

The horror genre goes back as far as the beginning of films themselves, over a 100 years ago. Some of the earliest horror films were Gothic in style which meant that they were usually set in spooky old mansions, castles, or fog covered, dark and shadowy locations which created an air of mystery as usually what the audience can't see is the thing that is the most terrifying. The main characters were usually 'unknown' humans, supernatural or grotesque looking creatures. This included vampires, evil madmen, devils, ghosts, monsters, mad scientists, demons, zombies, evil spirits, Satanic villains, demonic possessions and werewolves. Horror films at that time were developed out of a number of sources: folktales, fables, myths, ghost stories, melodramas and Gothic/ Victorian novels from Europe, such as the work of Mary Shelley or Bram Stoker.

The first horror movie, only about two minutes long, was made by imaginative French filmmaker Georges Melies, titled Le Manoir Du Diable (aka The Devil's Castle) (1896) - which contained some elements included in later vampire films.

By the early 1930s, horror entered into its classic phase in Hollywood - the 'true' Dracula and Frankenstein Eras. The studios took dark tales of European vampires and undead aristocrats, mad scientists, and invisible men and created some of the most archetypal creatures and monsters ever known for the screen. Universal Studios was best-known for its pure horror films in the 30s and 40s, horror's classic characters (Frankenstein, Dracula, The Mummy, the Invisible Man, and the Wolf Man) and its memorable horror stars, such as Bela Lugosi.

Many of the films in the horror genre from the mid-1930s to the late 1950s were B-grade movies, inferior sequels, or atrocious low-budget 'gimmick' films. In the atomic age of the 1950s, 'modern' themes like effects of radioactivity exposure, toxic chemical spills, or other scientific accidents were explored.

Horror films branched out in all different directions in the 1960s and after because the Production Code disappeared and film censorship was on the decline. Directors began to portray horror in ordinary circumstances and seemingly-innocent settings, which made the movies both more realistic and terrifying.

Alfred Hitchcock, whose early silent film The Lodger (1926) explored horror's themes, brought out some of horror's most 'horrific' films. His films changed the face of all horror films ever since. He created the idea of horror that could be found in the dark shadows of the human soul itself. That the murderer was not some horrific supernatural being, but rather a disturbed person who could easily be your next door neighbour, an idea that has horrified audiences ever since.

In the 1970s, the horror genre was subjected to violence, sadism, brutality, slasher films, victims of possession, and graphic blood-and-gore tales.

In the 80s and 90s many of the more successful horror films from previous decades spawned inferior, low-budget, slasher films. Most of these sequels or 'imitations' were exploitative and featured gory violence, graphic horror, 'teens in peril,' along with computer-generated special effects and makeup. A common storyline through out these decades was that of a homicidal male psychopath committing a string of gruesome murders on pretty, female victims. Many of these films told the tale of a vengeful murderer motivated by revenge and/ or sexual reasons, movies of this storyline include the Scream (1996-2000) franchise.