Analysing thriller trailers/films: ‘The Wolfman’…

Posted: November 24, 2010 in Media

OK I only just recently watched this film, and although it can be argued to be a horror, I’m personally think it has a lot of thriller aspects to it- enough to claim it to be of the thriller genre anyway…

So here’s the trailer:

Genre…

From looking at the trailer alone I’d say the film comes across as being a definite hybrid of the horror and thriller genres. Horror, is well, a bit simple to establish and convey really, the trailer introduces the theme of werewolves, and mythical monsters such as these are more  conventional to the horror genre than any other (like the Frankenstein monster and Dracula etc) and having this monster also implies a lot of gore and bloodshed within the film- the trailer even has shots which convey the fact that the monster does kill characters in brutal and gory ways (such as the shot were the werewolf’s hand clutches at the bleeding man’s throat) and bloodshed such as this I’d say is more common within horror films as thrillers usually have violence within them, but their violence tends to be more subtle. I also think the locations the trailer introduces to the audience are also very conventional of horror films as it seems to be a very remote manor, in the countryside, cut off from civilization. There is also evidence of a lot of the film taking place in a  dark forest, another frequent convention of the horror genre. But I think the thriller genre is implied also by the trailer as it appears to have many conventions of this genre also. Such as the constant element of mystery the trailer has- as there is minimal dialogue which obviously means not a lot is being told to the audience about the film. The fact the trailer frequently displays extreme close-ups and reactions shots from various characters means that the audience do not see the full picture and therefore this adds more mystery to the trailer (as thrillers usually do).

Narrative…

I think from the trailer the audience has a hint and implication of how the plot and narrative of the film MAY play out in the film itself but there none are specific or set in stone, and as well as this there is a lot of questions raised that are left unanswered…

For example, the trailer opens up with the introduction of the character of Lawrence, the protagonist of the film, and reveals to the audience that this character is sceptical of supernatural and fantasy beliefs- which the audience can tell from his line: ‘I don’t believe in curses’ and this sets up the fantasy sub-genre/theme within the film and makes the audience ask why Lawrence is saying this, who he is saying it to, and whether his opinion on curses and things such as this will change throughout the course of the film itself.

The audience can take the implication that the character of John, Lawrence’s father, knows more about this through his reaction to what Lawrence says- which is a laugh. This insinuates perhaps a conflict os beliefs/opinions between characters and the audience will want to watch on to see whether this relationship changes throughout the film and what effect it will have on the narrative itself.

After this the trailer then briefly introduces some more characters,  who are the inspector, Abberline and Lawrence’s sister-in-law, Gwen- this suggests this character will be important to the narrative but doesn’t show exactly how or what relationships they already have with the character who have already been introduced. The shots of them imply there personalities and roles within the film- such as Abberline looking serious and determined suggests he will be hero/helper and Gwen looking tragic and upset implies that she may be a victim in the film.

And then there is an introduction of the theme of werewolves and the initial disruption of the equilibrium, as there a few shots of Lawrence appearing to transform into one- but the audience do not know how this happened and will begin to question how and why- and how will this affect the narrative and Lawrence’s relationship with the other characters? After this the trailer reveals Lawrence’s father, John, appearing to advise his son on something and talking of beasts/killings- this implies that John is quite a knowing character within the film but is he truly trying to help Lawrence, or there something more to this, hidden beneath the surface? And more importantly, does Lawrence agree to/take heed of his advice? How will this effect the film? etc The talk of beasts/killings also connotes that the film will be full of bloodshed and violence.

The trailer then shows scenes of the beast running free/killing/causing chaos- this hints to the beast within Lawrence may be controlling him. And this leaves the audience to ask whether this is true and if it is, will  this lead our protagonist into problems/character conflicts- will he be able to overcome them if he does? Can he fight the control the beast appears to have over him and restore the equilibrium? After this there is a reaction shot of Lawrence looking shocked by what he has done- implying to perhaps how the protagonist will come across the problem of how to overcome his problem- will he be able to get over what he has done/is still capable of? And more importantly, how will other character react to the protagonist’s problem? Can he restore the equilibrium and get rid fo the curse hanging over him?

Another problem of the narrative of the film is introduced through the various shots of guns being fired, brandished and lots of different characters searching through a dark forest. This implies that they are after the protagonist, but will they catch/kill him? What has he done that has angered them so? The audience begin to wonder how the protagonist will cope with this problem placed him front of him also. As well as this there are hints to a romantic relationship between Gwen and Lawrence, and this can pose another problem to get in the way of our protagonist restoring the equilibrium- as there are hints to Gwen being caught up within the problem of Lawrence’s curse, and we wonder what role she’ll play within the film- will she be a burden and somewhat distract Lawrence from restoring the equilibrium? Or will she be a helper and help free him from the curse?

There is a hint to various characters trying to stop Lawrence, which is conveyed through shots of the character of Abberline firing his gun, various other characters fighting against Lawrence while he is in his werewolf form- but he audience are left wondering whether they will be able to stop him and furthermore, whether Lawrence will be able to stop himself ? (And thus, restore the equilibrium of the film) The father’s words of things being ‘glorious’ suggests that there may be some feud between this character and Lawrence himself as they both appear to have very different opinions on whatever matter he is speaking of. But what do his words actually mean? Does it have anything to do with the curse that is now on Lawrence? Ad will his father get in the way of him restoring the equilibrium?

And the audience is not left knowing the final outcome of the film at all- it left unclear at whether Lawrence will live or die. Or whether he’ll be able to control the beast or succumb to its power (and more importantly, will he be able to restore the equilibrium of the film??)….

USP…

I think that the trailer conveys many USPs that are big enough to persuade audiences to want to see the film. Mostly these are actors/actresses that star in the film itself, such as: Benicio Del Toro- probably most famous in the film industry for his original and unique style of acting, audiences who have seen and enjoyed films like ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas’, ‘The Usual Suspects’, ‘Snatch’ and ‘Traffic’ of which Del Toro has played a role in, are likely to want to see this film when they are told in the trailer that he will be playing the leading role. And of course there is also the very famous and popular Anthony Hopkins, most well-known for his roles within the films ‘The Silence of the Lambs’, ‘Hannibal’ and ‘The Elephant Man’ and any audience member that has seen/liked any of these films will be more interested in seeing this one when they see Hopkins is playing quite a big role within it (which is of John, Lawrence’s father). There is also the mention of English actress Emily Blunt, well-known probably more by female audiences for her roles within romance/comedy/drama films such as: ‘The Devil Wears Prada’, ‘The Young Victoria’ and ‘Dan in Real Life’ and therefore her presence may persuade some more of the female audience to want to watch the film, as due to the previous roles she has played makes her more likely to be liked/recognized by female audiences. We also have actor Hugo Weaving, most likely to be recognized by audiences for playing the villain (Mr.Smith) in the ‘Matrix’ trilogy, as well as Elrond in the ‘Lord of the Rings’ trilogy and also the lead role within the revenge/thriller ‘V for Vendetta’. Due to this it likely that many audiences have enjoyed and at least seen these popular and successful films and will therefore be more drawn to seeing this film when they hear in the trailer that Weaving will have a part in it. Another and I thought more interesting USP is how this film is clearly seen as a modern remake of the original  film ‘The Wolf Man’ (1941) and so the film-makers already have an audience waiting to see the film in a way, as fans of the previous film (or any werewolf film I’d say) will be eager to see if the remake lives up to or compares to the original film they loved so much.

Target Audience…

Well after viewing the trailer I think generally men are targeted more than women- this based on the fact that most of the main characters introduced to the audience are themselves, male (Lawrence, his father  and Abberline) and only one female character is introduced (Gwen) which ultimately means that men are more likely to be interested in watching the film as they have more characters within it that they can fully connect to/empathize with. As well as this, the protagonist of the film is male (Lawrence) and as the film itself revolves around its protagonist and the hardships/problems he goes through in the narrative, male audiences will be able to connect with Lawrence and the things he goes through easier than female audience members could (thus enlarging their enjoyment in the film more as they can fully understand what Lawrence is going through- well, somewhat…) .  And quite stereotypically, it is easy to point out that male audiences usually enjoy violence/gore in films more than female audiences do, and as the trailer implies a lot of this through various shots and the theme of monsters it is simple to suggest that male audiences may be more intrigued to see the film than female ones .  I’d say age-wise the trailer makes the film seem to be appropriate for ages 16+ , mostly due to the fact that it is implied to be scary/frightening (which is insinuated due to the beast itself and the references to various killings. As well as all of this, the trailer has a very dark tone and I don’t think this would be appropriate or even aimed at a younger audience. The fact most characters are of an older age ( around 30s-40s and sometimes even over this) implies that an older audience will be able to sympathize with the characters better and therefore would attract an older audience more than a younger one.

Music…

To some extent the music replaces the dialogue as the music appears to add more atmosphere than the dialogue does to some extent…

The track played in the background of the trailer is named ‘Groove Addicts- The Beast at our door’ and I think, on the name alone, conjures up the images of fantasy beasts, such as werewolves, and therefore fits the tone of the film and trailer very well…

As the trailer begins and the music starts also, it sounds immediately dark and mysterious, making the audience tense and straight away, letting them know that the trailer they are about to watch is promoting a thriller/horror film (as this is a convention of these genres). As well as this the music is a bit slow and quiet as it begins, indicating the fact that the trailer is opening up and introducing the equilibrium of the film itself and establishing important aspects of it to the audience before the trailer truly gets started…

But as the pace itself of the trailer builds, and more of the film’s narrative, characters and themes are introduced to the audience, the music follows suit, getting faster and louder than previously. The music then gets even faster/louder as the trailer speeds up even more, making the audience tense and eager to watch on. The nature of the music being played also fits the tone and atmosphere of the trailer as it sounds tragic and scary, indicating to the audience that this film will be dramatic and full of tragedies as well as being quite frightening at times. Quite dramatically, the music abruptly comes to a halt as the werewolf growls and jumps onto a statue- this is to shock and perhaps frighten the audience- indicating that the film itself may be quite scary and making them focus on what is happening in the trailer (as whatever is happening must be important or else it wouldn’t have stopped the music).

When the music starts again it is much quieter, which makes the audience tense as well as making sure the music does not play over important parts of the trailer that are vital for the audience to see/hear. The mysterious tone also makes the audience focus upon the trailer and implies the film may have a mysterious element within it (indicating  the film may be a thriller, as mystery is a common convention of this genre). As shots get faster and the trailer’s pace quickens, so does the music- and it’s gets faster and louder, the fastest being at the trailer’s montage as it matches the trailer actual speeds and helps to build tension in the audience.

 And once again, the music dramatically and abruptly is ‘cut-off’ as the trailer ends- thus signalling the end of the trailer to the audience as well as how they are being cut off from the narrative itself and must watch the film if they wish to see more/find out how the film ends. The fact the music can be argued to be stopped by the werewolf’s growl also indicates the power and control the beast has over the protagonist within the film, thus making the audience wonder whether Lawrence will be able to fight it. The silence at the end of the trailer also helps to build tension in the audience as to what is going to happen in the film itself and thus makes them eager to watch the actual film.

Camerawork…

I thought the camera work within the trailer was the most moving and interesting aspect- even bordering on beautiful at times. I thought it was a much more creative aspect to intrigue audiences and give them information on the film (and it’s genre) without having to physically tell them…

The trailer begins with a long/establishing shot of Lawrence as he sits on a bed in what looks like a straitjacket while talking to another character (John, his father). Being introduced first suggests the idea to the audience that Lawrence is the protagonist of the film and will therefore make them focus upon him probably more than any other character. But the fact he is in a straitjacket makes them question why this is and what is going on- has the equilibrium already been disturbed? And if it has- how and also, will Lawrence be able to restore it?

There is then a low angle shot, looking up at the moon through a barred window (this could also be a POV shot from Lawrence) as the characters discuss the power of the moon. This suggests to the audience that the moon plays a powerful part in the film and has power over the characters themselves- but which ones, and more importantly, why?

A close up/reaction shot of Lawrence shows the audience that he looks shocked and like he has had an overwhelming sense of realisation- this makes the audience tense as they wonder what he is reacting to and why he is reacting to it in this way, but as it is a close up they cannot see what he is reacting to and are left having to watch on to try and figure it out (and I have to say, what I assume the audience would think Lawrence is reacting to, is in fact extremely different in the film itself and something audience’s couldn’t possibly guess at this stage, which i think a lot of thriller trailers tend to do). 

There is then a mid/establishing/reaction shot of Lawrence’s dad, John, as he is first introduced to the audience and seen to find something (though we don’t know what) funny. This makes the audience wonder who he is, what role he’ll play in the film and what has happened to cause him to react in this way, because he doesn’t generally seem amused, but it is more of an evil snigger- which could insinuate to the audience that he is maybe a bad or evil character, but they don’t know how or whether this is indeed true.

Establishing and extreme long shots establish the location of the film- which appears to be a remote manor in the countryside and sets up the audience’s expectations of the film itself. It also makes them wonder which characters live there and furthermore, who owns it. The fact the manor looks isolated from other houses also sets it apart from anything else and makes it appear mysterious and somewhat creepy, suggesting the hybrid of the genres thriller and horror.

I’m not sure what this shot would be called, but there is a beautiful shot of a dark shadow cast across a grey brick wall (that reminded me a bit of a shot within the trailer for ‘Se7en’ where the killer’s shadow is seen in a puddle of water) and I thought this helped build tension as it makes sure the audience realises that someone or something threatening is there, but they can’t actually see what. It gives the trailer a mysterious tone, thus making the audience think that the film may have a theme of mystery (like most thrillers do) and makes them want to watch on to see what is really happening. Agin it hints at threat and danger without having to give the full picture- which is more effective than actually showing the full picture as it is therefore subtle and more tension building/mysterious.

An establishing/mid shot of another character, the detective Abberline, as he sits on a train and the audience can see he looks very serious/determined- they therefore begin to wonder what he is thinking about/ perhaps reacting to and what role this character will have within the film- will he be a villain or a hero? As Abberline’s eyes shift downwards, we have an interesting POV/extreme close up as Abberline holds a box of bullets in his hands. This builds tension in the audience as it connotes bloodshed within the film- but why does he have the bullets? Will they hold a significance in the film itself? And who does this character intend to use them on?

A long/reaction shot from Gwen as she turns around makes her appear vulnerable- perhaps suggesting that she is a victim of the film- but how, and who or what is preying on her? Will she be saved from whatever peril she appears to be in? And if so, which character will be the one to save her and what relationship will they hold? A low angle/reaction shot from John Talbot not only insinuates that the character will be a powerful one within the film itself, but as he leans in makes the audience wonder what he is looking at or who he is looking upon and why he looks as interested as he does- has he discovered something vital? Again, it builds tension and audience interest as they see only reactions and not what characters are actually reacting to.

There is then a very interesting shot similar to one I featured in my first storyboard- there is an extreme long shot of a man running away- and it being an extreme long shot means we cannot see the identity of the character or what he is running from/why, thus gaining more audience interest. And then this turns into something of an extreme close up, as a gnarled hand falls into view of the camera and becomes the shot’s main focus. This gives the audience the implication that this character is running away from a monster or beast- but what beast? Will it catch up with him? Like the extreme long shot, the extreme close up means the audience cannot see the full picture and will therefore be more interested to watch the film itself so as to see it.

An extreme close up of Lawrence’s face shows his deep emotions- he looks desperate and scared as well as in an immense amount of pain. The fear in his eyes is conveyed directly to the audience through this choice of shot and this makes them connect with an  sympathize with the protagonist, which is most likely to make them want to watch the film to see what hardships Lawrence is being put through, why and whether he’ll be able to overcome them in the end. The way Lawrence’s head turns reveals to the audience that he appears to be transforming- linking to the theme of werewolves that the film very obviously has from the title. But why? What events have led the character to this? Will he be able to get rid of his curse or will he become a victim of it? Also making us sympathize with Lawrence is how his eye shift downwards and immediately we are given an extreme close up shot of what appears to be his own hand- as if the audience is seeing and living what he is going through, making the audience connect with the character and wonder whether he’ll be able to beat the curse that is trying to consume him. The fact the shot is an extreme close up heightens the very creepy and haunting way Lawrence’s fingers bend and snap as he tranforms- evoking fear in the audience and making them again sympathize with Lawrence as the transformation he is going through looks very painful.

Another low angle/reaction shot of Lawrence’s father, John, as he smiles suggesting him to be quite a powerful and evil character. This is because the way the camera is looking up at him is like he literally standing over the audience and this connotes that the character is very strong/powerful- but will he use this strength for good or bad? At closer inspection he is seen to be smiling as he holds a razor in his hand- but why? Does it have a certain significance in the film? If it does- what? Also, a mid/reaction shot of a tearful Gwen makes the audience tense as she appears distraught and shocked- but the fact the audience cannot see what she is reacting to helps keep the trailer’s mysterious tone and make the audience even more interested in seeing the film itself. The fact she looks so upset again suggests she will be a victim of the film- but what will happen to her? And what relationship will she have with the characters already introduced in the trailer? Another moving reaction/mid shot comes from Abberline as he looks gob-smacked and shocked and appears to be watching something in the sky as chaos breaks out behind him- the fact he remains quiet as everyone else panics implies his character is calm and clever (perhaps a hero of some kind?) and again, builds tension as it makes the audience wonder what he and the other people in the shot are actually reacting to.

A rather strange tracking/close up of Lawrence (in a straitjacket) as he is wheeled into a room on what looks like a stretcher is very interesting- the audience can see Lawrence looks warped, troubled and a little insane- but why? What has caused the character to look and come across in this way? Will he be able to get back to his old self? What I mostly liked about this is the way the shot is turned upside down- as it connotes the character’s mental health may be suffering as well as the fact that this is the disruption of the film’s equilibrium and our protagonist, Lawrence, has had his life literally turned upside down as a result of it- but will he be able to set things right again?

A two shot of Lawrence and his father as they look upon the moon insinuate that the moon and it’s power may drive a feud between the two characters- as they are both looking upon it, but in very different ways (Lawrence looks merely interested but not that bothered by it whereas John is obviously consumed and obsessed by it- which reveals that as close as the character may at first seem, they are still very very different and will each play very different role within the film. But will this cause them to conflict?). An extreme close up of  a door slamming and locking makes the audience tense as they wonder who is locking who up and why- is there a conflict between the characters? Does this have something to do with the beast? etc

A beautiful extreme close up as a hand clutches at a stone step and is seen to transform from what looks vaguely like a human hand to that of a long and clawed beast’s is very intriguing as it suggests one of the characters is a beast but successfully does not give away whom. It also heightens tension as the audience wonder what this beast will be/ what it’ll look like and more importantly, what role it will play within the film itself- will the beast be stopped? Or will it rule? A similar extreme close up is equally intriguing as the audience see a pair of wolf-like feet climb a few steps (some of these steps already containing the feet of a man but as it is an extreme close up the audience cannot be sure of their identity) and they will begin to wonder the true identity of the beast and whom it is chasing after/why. A POV/reaction shot from the beast’s POV sees a character’s reaction as the beast approaches him fast- the character looks petrified, further making the audience wonder what the beast actually looks like and adding to the mysterious tone of the trailer- why does the character look so scared? Furthermore, seeing this from the beast’s POV is more interesting as it suggests that the audience should feel sympathy for this monster- but why?

I think the most brilliant and intriguing shot is definitely of Lawrence (it was one of the shots that really stuck in my head after watching the trailer anyway and persuaded me to watch the film only a few days later, which is why I think this trailer is so good!) as the camera pans up to his face to see his reaction shot. Panning up is a brilliant technique as it allows the audience to see that Lawrence’s clothes are torn to shreds, muddy and covered in blood. This connotes bloodshed and violence as well as the fact that Lawrence has indeed turned into a beast – but how? And what events led the character to look like this? Has he done something terrible? If so, what? etc…But what I think is the most moving thing about the shot is Lawrence’s reaction. He looks so scared and so shocked, it makes the audience really feel and sympathize and connect with him- as if he is not fully responsible for his actions and it something beyond his control ( as if he disgusted with his own actions but cannot stop himself from carrying them out). But how is he going to overcome this? Will he be able to control the beast inside him? Or will he be ruled by it?

An extreme close up of a gun being loaded connotes bloodshed and violence within the film- but who is it directed at? Is the beast, which the audience is pretty sure now is Lawrence, being hunted? And if so, will they be successful in killing the beast and which character is hunting it? Plenty of long and extreme long shots as various characters walk through a dark forest in what looks like a hunt for the monster makes the audience tense as they wonder what is going on, who these characters are and whether they will actually catch the beast (and if they do, what will they do to it?) It implies the another problem (the beast) is trying to be overcome, but will the people be successful in doing this?

A two shot of Lawrence and Gwen suggests their characters share a close and romantic relationship- but will the relationship between them change or alter due to events within the film? Will Lawrence’s curse bring a divide between them, or will it bring them closer together? A few tracking/extreme long shots of Gwen running from the manor first introduced at the start of the trailer implies something bad has happened or that someone is chasing her- but who? And what has caused her to try and run away from the house?

More extreme close-ups of Lawrence as he transforms into the beast heighten tension- an extreme close of his eye as it enlarges and morphs makes the audience tense and scared- what is happening to Lawrence? is the beast taking holding of him? Again, an extreme close up of his hand reveals claws and hair sprouting from it, indicating to the audience that he is transforming without letting them see the final outcome/ what terror and problems the beast’s presence may bring to the film. There is then a close up of Lawrence about half way through the process of transformation, as he growls intimidatingly bearing his fangs. This implies to the audience that the beast has an immense hold and amount of power over our protagonist, but will he be able to stop it from destroying the man he once was and the things he held so dear?

An extreme close up of a gloved hand pulling down a switch heightens tension as well as linking to the next shot which is a long shot of Lawrence strapped to a stretcher, relieving what seems to be shocks of electricity- this makes the audience wonder what this has to do with the rest of the film, why this is happening to the protagonist and whether he’ll be able to get through the torture. A reaction shot also implies this as he is lowered in what seems to be freezing cold water- and the audience will wonder which character is inflicted such pain on our protagonist, why and makes us sympathize with Lawrence even further as we see he is in a lot of pain.

There is then a montage of lots  of different shots to heighten tension as to how the film will end- mostly the question of whether Lawrence will fight the curse that is controlling him or succumb to it. A reaction shot as a character is being forced against a wall quite violently makes the audience wonder who this character is/ what will happen to them- as well as this it also connotes violence and bloodshed within the film. A two/long shot of the beast and another, female character (Gwen) makes the audience wonder what the beast will do to her and how they have gotten there. A reaction from the beast itself makes the audience feel confused as to whether the beast is good or bad and if Lawrence is able to overcome the amount of control he has over his actions when he transforms. A midshot of Abberline as he fires his gun and looks determined and strong implies his character is trying to kill the beast- but will he be able to do it? And is this really a heroic act or is Lawrence merely a victim and therefore shouldn’t be hunted for what is beyond his control? Another reaction shot, this time from Gwen as she is restrained by two male characters, shows she is concerned/distraught but the audience do not see what at- which insinuates perhaps something bad happens and therefore makes the audience tense as to how it’ll all end. And finally the trailer ends on a chilling long shot as the beast stands menacingly in the dark, it’s identity concealed by the night, seeming to be transfixed with rage. This leaves the audience unsure of the beast’s and therefore Lawrence’s fate- because it is insinuated that he is hunted because of the actions he clearly has no control over, but it is left unclear about whether he is killed or not and whether he finally overcomes the beast inside him.

Pace…

I thought the pace within the trailer was much like that of the pace within a film…

For example, the trailer’s pace was rather slow as the trailer opened, reflecting on how and allowing the trailer to open up and introduce the basic and simple points of the film itself. The slow pace also allows the audience to be introduced to the most important characters within the film and thus connect to them better and want to watch on and see how the film will affect the characters and their relationships…

As the trailer’s pace gets a little bit faster, this helps add to the atmosphere and tension within the trailer as it introduces new characters (Abberline and Gwen) and the fast pace means the audience gets a little confused, asking questions such as how these characters are involved and what relationships they have with the other characters? etc The fast pace also means that the trailer quickly introduces the main location of the film, and hints to the themes of monsters ( the shot on the bed) and killings (the ex.close up of the bullets in Abberline’s hand) thus making the audience confused and tense as all of these different things are introduced/hinted to within a short space of time.

The pace then again gets much faster as the beast/werewolf theme is properly introduced to the audience to be an important aspect of the film. As the pace quickens this builds the tension in the audience as a lot of questions are raised, like how Lawrence has become a werewolf, how the protagonist’s predicament will affect the film and other characters etc. As well as this the fast pace also reflects on how this is the initial disruption of the film- as this is disrupting the narrative as well as moving it along.

The pace then slows down again, which makes the audience focus on what is happening in the trailer- this also raises a lot of questions as the pace slowing shows how Lawrence seems to be coming into contact with more problems- but will he be able to overcome it? Ad what effects will these problems have upon him? etc

But the pace gets fast again as the montage builds in the trailer- this introduces the fact that lots of problems appear to be occurring within the film- such as Lawrence’s reactions to something bad that has happened/ the beast killing various characters/villagers searching and hunting the beast (Lawrence) and this helps to build tension and raise questions as to whether these problems will be solved in the film and how/if Lawrence will be able to overcome them.

Like  a film, the trailer is slow once again at the end- this leaves the audience unsure of what the outcome will be in the film itself as well as building tension to the last shot of the film- which is an intimidating stance of the beast in the shadows (which can go either way- he could be calm and controlled or poised and ready to attack in a frenzy, the audience aren’t left knowing for sure. And therefore reflects that they are unsure of how the film will end).

Dialogue…

Well I have to say I was initially drawn to this trailer because it’s dialogue is minimal, but that it makes the trailer overall more interesting to watch. It doesn’t need to force-feed the audience a lot of information about the film to get them intrigued, which is the way I feel it should be…

The trailer’s first lines of dialogue come from the protagonist’s (Lawrence’s) father, John Talbot as we see a shot of the moon: ‘She exerts enormous power, doesn’t she?’ – this makes the notion to the audience clear that this film will be about werewolves, as they are, like in most films of this kind, said to transform at a full moon. But why is this character saying this? And what does he have to do with the werewolf theme of the film? Is he one himself?

Lawrence then answers with: ‘I don’t believe in curses’– this leads the audience to think that the protagonist may begin quite sceptical of the werewolf theme- but will his scepticism lead him into possible danger? Will his attitude change due to some encounter with them, or is right not to believe in it? The audience can only watch on to find out…

And, as I said before the dialogue is extremely stripped of this trailer but the last lines of the trailer are spoken by John Talbot, suggesting he will be a powerful and clever character within the film itself as he speaks more lines in the trailer than the protagonist himself: ‘Never look back Lawrence…Never look back. The past is a wilderness of horrors’– this hint to the past insinuates the film will be a thriller as it may have flashbacks to previous incidents that occurred in the character’s lives- but why is John so keen to forget the past? Did something bad happen to him? And what has happened that means he is giving his son that same advice- to forget the past and move on? And more importantly, will Lawrence take this advice or is he too tormented by his past to simply forget it?

‘The darkest hours of hell lie before you…run free…kill or be killed’– well this forebodes the tragic and dark acts that are to come in the film- making the audience tense as they wonder just what john is talking about and trying to prepare Lawrence for. And what does he mean by ‘run free’? It can be insinuated he is talking to Lawrence as if he is some kind of animal or monster (which links to the ‘kill or be killed’) and the audience why this is/ what it has to do with the film itself. His words also imply a strong and careless and character- perhaps implying he is the villain of the film.

‘It is glorious isn’t it?’– What is John referring to? And why is he referring to it in this way? If he is referring to werewolves and the curse they bring upon people then it can be insinuated that other characters may argue against his point of view, most probable one of these to be Lawrence, who has already expressed in the trailer that he doesn’t believe there is any truth in this kind of thing. So will there be confrontations between father and son, and how will this affect the film itself?

Voice Over…

Well, as dialogue was even at a minimum it seems appropriate to assume that there wasn’t any voice-over either. Which there wasn’t. And this was totally fine by me. It helped keep the audience intrigued by what is going to happen in the film without, as I said sometimes excessive dialogue does, ‘force-feed’ audience information about the film so as to get them to see it (which sometimes, just looks as if the trailer itself is trying a bit too hard to get audiences actually in the cinema to watch the film…and frankly puts me, and I’m sure other audience members, off of watching the film altogether)

Special Effects…

Although the trailer clearly implies the film itself will use CGI, I don’t think there was THAT much of it within the trailer to be honest. I know for a fact that the transformation scenes (of Lawrence transforming into a werewolf) are created from CGI and various other special effects, perhaps to make the transformation from man to wolf look more gruesome and painful (thus meaning the audience feel frightened as well as sympathizing with Lawrence because it looks like a painful experience). At first I thought the actual shots of the monster in the trailer were CGI too, but researching into the film itself more I learnt that almost all of the shots of the werewolf were actors in brilliant costumes and extremely good makeup! I thought this was interesting to note that most of the actual beast wasn’t merely special effects as this portrays how the film is intended to be an homage to the original 1941 film ‘The Wolf Man’ – because back then, CGI wouldn’t have been used either as the technology was not available and the film had to make do with costume/makeup /good acting skills. I also think this makes the beast appear a lot scarier tot he audience as it seems a lot more realistic than anything any special effects could create- thus making the beast itself seem more life-like and thus more frightening. The only other effects I noted were the various gunshots seen and heard firing within the trailer and the various wounds and killings which I think were helpful to portray to the audience that the film will be very gory and contain a lot of bloodshed (thus letting them consider whether they’d enjoy watching it or not). 

Credits & Intertitles…

 Generally I thought the appearance of the titles were quite simple and bare, the font being nothing out of the ordinary and the titles themselves being white on black- a very usual way of titles being presented to the audience in trailers. No, what I liked more was what the titles said and the fact they were used for more than just getting possible USPs across to the audience:

‘Benicio Del Toro’– As I said before, the well-known actor is introduced by the titles to get his name across to the audience as therefore possibly persuade audiences to watch the film itself. (The three titles below are all USPs similar to this too…)

‘Anthony Hopkins’

‘Emily Blunt’

‘Hugo Weaving’

‘From Universal Pictures…’– Linking to the industry behind the film itself, though I don’t think this is really a USP that audiences will really take notice of or will influence their choice to go and see the film or not…

‘When the moon is full…’– Now here are the titles I like. The ones that link to the story and film instead of just trying ‘sell’ the film to the audience through those who worked on it (like actors/actresses/film studios etc). This indicates the big theme of werewolves within the film itself and leaving an ellipse makes the audience eager to watch on to see how the titles will end/carry on in the rest of the trailer.

‘The legend comes to life…’– Linking to previous titles, I think this is useful for portraying again, the theme of the film as well as hyping the audience by making it seem more ‘real’ (comes to life).

‘The Wolfman’– And, as always, the title of the film is left until last to keep the audience waiting for the most important aspect of the film to be introduced. But here it is interesting how the ‘O’ in the title is the moon- linking to the theme of the film and how it will be an important aspect of the film itself. 

Comparing the trailer to the film itself…

Lawrence’s life…

 

What I mostly liked about the trailer is how it compares to the film itself. Such as the fact the certain ‘equilibrium’ of the film (which I rate as very very short-lived) isn’t introduced much in the trailer- probably because the equilibrium is just a certain ‘build-up’ to the bad things (disruptions and problems) that will happen throughout the film and therefore, isn’t really necessary to introduce to the audience in the trailer. I also found it interesting how in the film, Lawrence is a famous actor, especially of stage performances (When we are first introduced to him he is quoting Hamlet ‘Alas, poor Yorick!’ and playing the leading role within it) which is not indicated to at all in the trailer itself. I think it was a good idea to leave it out as this makes the audience surprised at the protagonist’s occupation and leaves them to think how it could affect the film and his relationship with other characters.

His Haunted Past…

After watching the trailer and then going on to watch the film, I felt the things the audience learn about Lawrence’s haunted past were quite a surprise as they are not indicated at all in the trailer. I think this was a wise move as it makes what happened to Lawrence when he was child seem more chilling and shocking than if the audience were already previously aware of it (if the trailer had featured or introduced the idea). The truth is that Lawrence has a very troubled past- having heard strange noises in the night, he had left his bed and wandered outside into the dark- and unfortunately come upon his mother- her throat slit- who had committed su*cide. I think this was an interesting part of the story as it makes the audience connect further with Lawrence’s character, and understand why he feels a bit dis-attached from his father and why he apparently spent a year in a mental asylum when he was younger. It also makes the audience sympathize with him as we hear and see what he does in his mind through the use of flashbacks- which are helpful to portray how much this memory plays on the protagonist’s mind and will therefore probably play a big part in the film itself.

I also thought this added to Lawrence’s ‘tragic-hero’ role within the film (like Hamlet!) as his past has not exactly been the happiest or most enjoyable one and the audience will begin to wonder how on returning home to where all of these traumatic events took place will effect him and we want to see whether he’ll be able to fight off these demons playing on his mind.

Being Bitten while trying to find out what happened to Ben…

Well, it’s pretty obvious from the trailer that Lawrence gets bitten by a werewolf and then, in turn, becomes one. That IS what happens within the film to some extent, but what I liked about the trailer’s way of telling things was how they didn’t really reveal HOW and WHY Lawrence got bitten. The truth is that he was looking for the person/beast whatever, that was responsible for killing his brother Ben. And as Ben is not even introduced in the trailer, it’s pretty obvious the trailer doesn’t give this aspect away at all, thus when the audience go to watch the film itself they don’t really know when to expect Lawrence to be bitten, and therefore it will shock/scare them more when it actually happens…

I also like the fact that still, even up tot his point, Lawrence is a ‘tragic hero’- he is put through a lot of hardships in the film- having his past haunt him, being told his brother is dead, and then being bitten by werewolf…luck really just isn’t on his side. But even though he clearly isn’t having much luck discovering who or what killed his brother, he still tries, and it’s his determination for goodness and to do what is ‘right’ that makes him such a brilliant and interesting character…

 First begins to notice the change/ realisation of what has really happened to him…

I thought the trailer was interesting because it revealed Lawrence’s scepticism of the werewolf ‘curse’ but didn’t really reveal that his character, in the film, comes to realise that these so-called ‘fantasies’ are very real. I think it may be implied in the trailer but in the film it less than subtle. Having villagers trying to take him away in belief he is a beast, his bite wound healing at an un-natural rate and feeling a desire for blood and flesh all contribute to Lawrence admitting that he feels there is something wrong with him. Thus he does the heroic thing and sends Gwen away, under the belief he might hurt her and not willing to take the risk. I think it’s an interesting aspect of the film as the audience knows Lawrence is a  werewolf, they just don’t know what his reactions will be to this curse now suddenly put down upon him, and therefore it’s a good job the trailer didn’t give his reactions/sense of realisation away.

 That most of the other characters are as sceptical about werewolves as he is (other theories to who or what is causing the deaths of villagers)…

This part of the film I really wasn’t expecting because the trailer really doesn’t refer to it at all. Frankly I thought it was very interesting and tension building as the audience and Lawrence KNOW that he is werewolf but the problem lies in convincing the other characters of the mad but entirely factual truth- that Lawrence is not insane, he is a werewolf. I think it gains audience sympathy even more as Lawrence is disgusted enough with himself by what he had done when he was in werewolf form (which was kill and eat a lot of villagers) but to have other characters not believe him and send him to a mental institution and have him believe he is a lunatic is an even worse a thing be put through. The scenes of supposed ‘therapy’ for Lawrence are particularly hard to watch, such as the EST, needles being jammed into his neck and water treatment, as we, the audience, know Lawrence is not to blame for what he has done because it is beyond his control and due to the curse upon him which is that of the werewolf.  Here we also connect tot he character further as he hallucinates as he is tortured in the institution- seeing his own mother tell him she is ‘quite dead’, his father to be the one torturing him, a werewolf attacking him and Gwen, and imaging holding his brother’s severed head as he re-inacts the play of Hamlet and says ‘Alas, poor Yorick!’. All of these thing evidently pieces and flashes from Lawrence’s troubled mind as he is put through such hardships makes the audience connect with and sympathize with him as they see and hear what he sees- like they are put in his very shoes and begin to wonder what long-term effect this will have on the character.

John’s confession…

I thought this twist in the plot of the film was interesting as although you can argue that John, Lawrence’s father, is implied to know a bit more about the werewolf curse or have a different attitude towards it that our main character, the true extent of what John does within the film is in no way implied by the trailer. For example, John confesses to his son that he is a werewolf too, (which thankfully, the trailer doesn’t give away as it is one of the biggest twists within the film!) and that he killed Lawrence’s mother and also, his brother Ben. And if that isn’t enough, he wants Gwen to himself aswell. And I think all of this is good to have been left out of the trailer as therefore the audience can somewhat share their emotions/reactions with Lawrence- as he is shocked and distraught by this news and as there is no indication to it, the audience will probably have this reaction too (thus making them connect with Lawrence even further, which will make them eager to watch on and see if he restores the equilibrium after all).

Problem- Nobody believes Lawrence is actually a werewolf….

I thought I’d add and describe this scene as it really indicates to how although Lawrence is a werewolf, and cabable of terrible and down right gruesome things, he still is, at heart, a hero and good character (linking to the first line of the film: ‘Even a man who is pure at heart and says his prayers by night, may become a wolf, when the wolfbane blooms and the autumn moon is bright’). i find this scene very poignant and tension building as to an extent, the audience and Lawrence are in the same boat: they both know that Lawrence will soon turn into the beast and probably kill all of those locked inside the room with him, but he cannot convince the others he is not crazy in time to save them. The fact he warns the crowds of what he is capable of makes the audience sympathize with Lawrence as he is still, in spite of everything, trying to do the right thing: ‘Tonight I will kill ALL OF YOU!!’. I also thought this scene was very tragic as Lawrence looks full of fear due to what he feels he is about to do (which was interesting as he is not scared due to any other character or their actions, but of his own):even begging for death at one point, which really makes the audience sympathize with him and wonder whether he’ll be able to overcome this curse or will it forever control him and destroy the good man inside of him? And it’s good the trailer leaves this aspect out as it means when you come to watch the film you really have no idea of how Lawrence’s character will evolve due to what happens to him and how much the curse truly dominates and scares him:‘Somebody do something!!!…Kill me!’

Doing the right thing…

 And well, another thing obviously not shown in the trailer itself is the fact Lawrence escapes from the asylum and tracks down his father with the intention of killing him and ending the madness he had initially created. This really shows just how determined and heroic Lawrence is as he is willing to kill his own father (and we think his only living relative left) if that is what it takes to restore the equilibrium and set things right again. Of course the trailer implies that the two characters may have some conflict between them (though it is not specified) but it is only a suggestion, and therefore doesn’t go as far as to reveal that Lawrence actually kills his father in the end (which would be giving away quite a great deal!)

The only way to kill the beast…

And, most importantly the trailer doesn’t give away the end of the film. Which is good, because this is what audiences really want to know and where the most intriguing points of the film lie. It is here that after killing his father, Lawrence (in werewolf form) bites Abberline and then runs after Gwen. After a point where Gwen appears to calm the beast and prevent it from killing her, she finally plucks up the courage to fire a silver bullet into it, thus destroying the beast that has being controlling Lawrence through-out the entire film. He returns to his natural form and thanks her for ending the torture he was going through ‘It had to be this way’ before dying in her arms. This evidently restores the equilibrium to some extent, as Lawrence no longer has the beast forever controlling him, but is it really restored? As Abberline looks down at the bite-wound on his chest and then to the full moon, it leaves the question open as to whether this is really the end and really the new equilibrium…I also think a quite touching way to end was to leave with the question of man, beast and sin which really is a theme and aspect I feel the trailer doesn’t fully get across:

‘They say killing a beast is not a sin But killing a man is. the problem is to find where one ends and the other begins.’

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