Week 12: Horror

A Japanese horror film tends to take place in everyday life, which frightens the audience into thinking the stories could actually happen. In order to make the movie scary, Kairo uses creepy camera angles and eery music to highlight the vulnerability of being alone.

When someone is alone, that is when things seem scary. Shadows and slow motion foreshadow evil spirits being present. Only when the characters are alone do the ghosts seem to tap into the computers and phones of the victims. The victims mysteriously die alone. The director successfully shows that the loneliness is not safe without showing the deaths, just hinting at it.

The music is extra diegetic to add suspense to the scenes which would otherwise not seem scary. High pitches and discomforting combinations of tones turn a normal person walking toward someone into a creepy ghost stalking an innocent person. Even the lack of music creates suspense because the audience expects something bad to happen when a character is alone. The sounds play off of the fear of being alone while ghosts are present.

Camera angles include high angles and long shots from other rooms to create a sense of someone watching. Even though no deaths are shown in these shots, the mere thought of spying and ghosts makes the simple actions of moving around on screen mess with the audience’s minds. We expect something bad to happen during long shots of people going about their daily lives, but we never see it. Our minds create a horrible outcome for these helpless individuals, which the director hopes for with his techniques.

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One thought on “Week 12: Horror

  1. I find it interesting that you point out how dangerous it is for characters to be alone in horror movies. It is a highly common similarity but I believe that causes it to go overlooked. In both versions of Pulse, the audience originally sees the bodies piling up one by one but never actually gets to see a character die. That is until the footage of the suicides is released and even then the characters die alone. The long shots play this up a lot, as you mentioned. It builds the suspense as our minds are trained to believe that something is just around the corner. The music definitely plays a role as well. It gives the audience a warning that something bad is about to happen without informing the character, making it extra diagetic. In the American version, it is common for the music to stop completely and have a moment of silence just before something jumps out to add that much more scariness to it.

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