Trailer Analysis – The Last Exorcism

The first thing that is clear and will draw the audience into the film is the fact that its the same producers as Dawn of the Dead. This is to let the audience know that they can expect the same sort of horror, even though it’s a completely differently film, and that they should be prepared for what is going to be revealed when the film is released. This will be also let the audience know that the effects and the style of horror is going to be very similar to Dawn of the Dead.

An establishing shot is used at the beginning of the trailer and this seems to be a convention used in most horror films. However in this trailer the common convention used is that the establishing shot is displaying a house/cabin which is secluded and isolated from any close help. Furthermore it is also in the middle of the field and makes any attempt to escape “The Devil” imminent and virtually impossible. Establishing shots are very effective and a good camera angle at the beginning of a film/trailer because just from this one shot you could tell if help is going to minimal/impossible because of it being in a secluded area or if it is going effect more than one victim because of it being set in urban area.
Establishing Shot TLE

The audience is told that this exorcism will be this man’s last one that he performs. This connotes to the audience that this victim is going to be very specific and not like the other 46 that he has performed in the past.

All throughout the film they use quick jump cuts between each clip followed with a static look, as if the film has been lost or damaged. This would have been used to get the suspense up and make the audience off edge and in an uncomfortable position. They also have the main character of the film showing her “other side” which of course is the devil. Followed by this everything you see is in a red effect because this colour commonly connotes anger, dangerous occasions, blood and specifically the evil itself. They give the character dark and black eyes which, like the quick jumps, builds up the suspense gets the audience ready for the next sequence.


After this shot, we see the man performing the exorcism looking for the girl who he is trying to help. Using a medium shot and then zooming into a close up we can see that the women is terrified through the expression and look on her face. It also shows that because of this thing that is inside her she doesn’t know where she is and that this” thing” has taken over and is controlling her body. The tension and build up is used through hard jump cuts and sound, like thunderclaps, every time we see her. This has the tendency of making the audience/viewers uncomfortable and on ease about the situation that the exorcist and the victim has found themselves in. This use of hard jump cuts and “cut the air tension” is a very common convention used in a lot of horror films.

Another common camera angle/convention used, is both the high and low angle shots. The high angle shots have been particularly used well on the victim and the girl that being exorcised. This is very good because connotes the low sense of power that she has and the way that she has been effected has completely destroyed her and made her extremely vulnerable. And on the other hand the vicar is the person that has the low angle shot used on him. this gives the audience a sense of how powerful he his and how he can help the victim and get this evil spirit out of her and get her back to way that she was originally.

This next scene is good way of displaying the character and the way that she is. Starting from an extreme long shot, all we see of the girl is her outline and her head looking down and, in a way, being secluded from everyone around. The black nature of the scene gives the sense of an eerie environment and that something is going to happen sooner rather than later. The way that she has been presented and the look of the scene is something that, I feel, works very well and is goo for the type of scene and film they have done. The camera angles and the props used work very well and I feel that this is something that I might take into consideration when planning the trailer that I am going to do for my own project. This use of camera angle is very popular with film directors because it allows the audience to see the horror but not get a full glimpse, in this case, of the girl . As a result it makes the audience feel uncomfortable because to them it just looks like a normal girl in the corridor but in reality it isn’t.

creepy TLE TLE Creepy

Trailer Analysis – Evil Dead

This trailer starts with the green rating screen displaying specific information. This is a common convention for all trailers because it means that it has been rated safe to view and there nothing that could potentially harm the viewers of this film.


Trailer opens with an Establishing Shot of the cabin that the majority of the films takes place. This is used to show the people who have seen the original Evil Dead Trilogy. Furthermore the fact that it is basically in the middle of nowhere and extremely isolated from any other civilisation, help can thrown out the window straight away. Also because the length of the shot is significantly long it implies and shows to the audience that the cabin holds danger and you can see the suspense building up.


The first real glimpse of the type of horror film that this is going to be is when the man slowly, but surely opens the bedroom door and we are displayed with a very isolated and frightened women in the form of a long shot. When she says “Please you have to get me out of here” she says it in a very slow and basic form to get the message across and something terrible or horrific is happening. They use a close up so that the audience can see the terror and ghostly look on her face as if she can’t cope with the situation of the house. It eve looks as if she has been “scared to death” but not literally.


The next scene show to the audience is with the use of a tracking shot and also as if the camera is the perpetrator chasing its next victim. during this time she says “there was something in the woods” in such a quiet and whisper like tone. This would have been done to let the audience know that this “something” is still in the woods. It could also imply because this creature is so evil and supernatural that the victims don’t know what it is or how to deal with the terror that it brings and is always around this secluded and isolated cabin. Also that this evil “thing” is in or around the cabin and could be listening to her every word. This is back up when it cuts to a clip saying “IT WILL CONSUME YOU” suggesting that the evil presence is out to get everybody and kill everyone that is out there or who will stand in the way of it.


The next part of trailer which makes the plot of the film even more significant is the fact that a book is found and that it has been wrapped up in black plastic bag and even barbed wire. This implies that this book is not to be touched or opened in anyway because the consequences that could arise because of this happening. However the man in the cabin decides that he is going to open it. Once opened it has “Leave this book alone” written in what I believe to be blood which would be seen as the main prop and sets up the rest of the film but also it would give the impression that the book is significant and linked to the frightened and terrified women that was previously shown. This method allows the viewer to make them feel as though they have made sense of the general idea of the film without them actually knowing any major plot points and that they won’t be ready for what will happen in the forcible future of this film.

This section of the trailer is shown through a series of Jump Cuts that occur very quickly, one after another. This shows the sense of panic that the woman was going through in the woods and the sense of panic that the man is experiencing when looking through the book. Because of the way that the book opens we see the typography that has been used to say the words “LEAVE THIS BOOK ALONE”. This phrase is written in red and what appears to be blood. This connotes that whatever happen to the book prior to it being opened wasn’t a good experience. Furthermore the use of blood is a common and typical convention that is used because it is a piece of iconography that is used in 99% of horror films that are released so frequently. And what is does is that it can connotate and denotate acttons which is clearly a common theme throughout this fil m shown through the trailer and the name of the film as well.

ED Book Screen shot 2013-09-10 at 08.54.06

The trailer uses a lot of those jump cuts that I previously spoke about and there is one significant scene and this is at the midway point of the trailer. The audience finally catches a glimpse of the girl who was on the bed earlier and from this we can see the transformation that she has gone through because of this evil spirit that has found itself with these people/victims. She slowly changes and this is the first time that the viewer sees this girl, her character is not explained in the trailer, but becomes apparent during the film.

ED Girl ED Horror

As a whole this is a very good trailer because it draws the audience into the film and gives them a sense of the plot of the film and helps to prepare them for what the actual film is going to be like when released.

Most of the films that I have been/will be reviewing are going to include the setting of a “cabin in the woods” and this something that is becoming increasingly more obvious and that I will be leaning towards this idea when designing and creating the storyboard for the trailer & poster that I will be creating for this unit/project.

Trailer Analysis – Insidious

Like most trailers there is the typical convention of the green rating screen. This shows that the trailer is safe to be viewed, an that it doesn’t contain any scenes that will be harmful to the viewers of this film.
green screen

A good way that they have drawn the audience is by using a part of the trailer to say “From the makers of Paranormal Activity and Saw”. This would appeal to lovers of the horror genre because they would have seen these two films and will expect the same sort of jumpy and out of the ordinary story line that the two previous films had and made them successful.

Other titles

There is an establishing shot of the house used and this is a good way to set the scene up for the rest of the movie. This also shows an extremely common convention for most horror films. This connotes that the film is being set in a house and secluded area. This is a good way of getting the audience fully involved within the film and the “house” can make them feel at home and getting comfortable right before something out of the ordinary happening. The use of the long pause when seeing this house would imply that it isn’t an ordinary home and that something will definitely happen to the occupants.

A high angle shot is used on the “mother” of the family. This is used to represent the fact that she is very vulnerable and scared and that something out of the ordinary is currently taking place, a supernatural/horrific nature. It also shows that she is open and that because she is not “powerful” and confronted that isn’t shown to the audience. Also the dropping of the phone could show that she has frozen and can’t believe her eyes when the “figure” appears and she fears for her life. This dropping of props/phone is another common convention because the character becomes frozen about what they have just seen.


The blood stained hand prints, especially them being fully shown, gives the connotation of something horrible or even fatal because the hand states that the victim was dragged away or tried to hurt the victim in anyway. Also the blood soaked hands gives the impression of a violent action sequence, as well as the fact that the monster/creature is continuously going to haunt them until they either leave the home or something worse happens. The two shot has been used effectively here because it shows the two main characters immersed in the challenge of the superstition activities in this film. Along with the blood stained hand prints and the use of the two shot is a common convention used in most horror films to get the audience drawn into and so they feel apart of the film as well.

Hand prints

This is a typical convention of horror film; this person is the knowledgeable one who provides the main information and could be the key to finding out the problem for this house. They use a close up to give the audience a sense of just how knowledgeable the older lady is and that this lady is more than likely going to their final hope of resolution. Also just by the way that she looks at the ceiling you can see the experience that she has had with similar cases and she may be the sole helper for this family and to find the evil source that has haunted this house and the family living in it.


The way in which the name of the film being displayed is significant as well. After a couple of scenes the word “INSIDIOUS” starts to creep close and closer to the screen to show that the terror and the creature within is going to get closer and be closer than what you may think. The use of the quick and hard jump cuts gives a sense of fear and terror into the viewers. Furthermore it can be used to show that audience that once is gets really close it’s too late and the creature will appear….

closer 1

getting closer

The creature shown at the end of trailer is common and close resemblance of evil and the devil Satan. This gives the impression that its serious, the situation that they are in and this use of the devil is a common convention and is the main plot of most horror films. Another convention that is commonly used when making a Horror Trailer is the use of Jump Scares. This is when an image or a person will appear on the screen unexpectedly for a short amount of time. This creature at the end is perfect example of this. The use of this sudden appearance of the creature is being used very effectively because it is something the audience wouldn’t quite expect to see all off sudden and as a result this will have an effect on the audience by it will leaver them uncomfortable, shocked and even scared to see this film.

Trailer Analysis – Dark Skies

Like the previous trailer, this one also involved what appears to be a normal family trying live a normal life.

The use of the boy turning around with the light shining on one side of his face gives the feeling that the boy isn’t comfortable with what is happening and he feels that something terrible is going to happen. Furthermore this shows the suspense and terror possibly because of the unusual surroundings. Also the location is a quiet road at night with barely any visibility and sets the scene for something to either appear from nowhere or someone to appear from nowhere.

Boy turning around

The next is the creepy/unusual symbol that is being portrayed onto the ceiling of the house. This shows the level of terror that the women feels for her and her family because all of the doors and windows get locked. This also gives a sense of terror into the audience because it is out of the ordinary.

The blood on the windows and the constant bombardment of birds hitting from and killing themselves when hitting the windows shows the sense of an eerie nature because this something that would not happen in everyday. This type of scene is a common convention in many horror films because it starts off with one slowly and then all of a sudden they are just hit with, in this case birds, coming faster and at different angles can put a real sense of fear and terror because they just don’t know what to do. Also the use of a high angle shot is showing the audience the vulnerability and low sense of power compared to the situation that they are in. It could also be because women are seen as less powerful and more vulnerable to whatever that may be in front of them.

There is also a specific part which might seem odd to the audience is when it says “Three different migrations at once” which would be enough to get the audience thinking and get them stuck into the story and terror that is a part of this film.

birds High Angle

This film is a good example of a horror film and some of the effects and plot of the story is something that I will continue to think about when producing and creating my own horror film. Furthermore the use of the different close ups and angle shots particualary on the female of the film is a good way to show the audience that she is going to the most vulnerable and more scared character out of the remaining characters within this films

Trailer Analysis – Paranormal Activity 2

This is the first trailer that I will be analysing which is a part of my research for this unit.

This film is within the sub genre Psychological horror and I machining to like these type of films. This is because even though it doesn’t follow the codes and conventions of a normal stereotyped horror film it does work very effectively. Not being able to fully see the perpetrator/antagonist can be just as scary if you can see the antagonist. It works well in this trailer because it has been heavily backed up with jump scares, medium shots and low angle shots. Tie all of this together and it produces a film that is very mind ridden and makes the audience wonder, “What will be next?”

The first thing that strikes me about this trailer is the fact that the trailer itself is very short, only 1:13. The camera angle used is a high angle shot and this has been used to connote that the occupants of the house are the victims to something eerie and frightening. Furthermore the trailer shows the film all in the dark and this gives the impression of, as it is all quiet and calm, it suddenly goes straight to something/somebody being “moved” and this case, a man being thrown across the room in the opening clip.

As something happens it all of a suddenly switches to an extreme close up of what seems to be the main perpetrator of this horror film. This gives the sense to the audience that the figure is powerful and getting its serenity an fear into the head of the audience, because of this it then sets the scene for the rest of the movie/trailer that what they are about to see is going to be scary and nothing that they have ever seen before.


This is good technique used because it means that the audience can really see what is being a threat and terrifying the family that is living in this house.

Some of the effects used are very effective as well. A common effect in this film and in other horror movies using a home video tape is the static/crackling effect. This is very effective towards the audience because it connotes that something isn’t right about this situation and that the footage has been found and damaged in a way that the audience can only see as not a very good outcome for the victims. This use of effect is something that I am considering about using in my production of a horror trailer.

Effect 2

Effect 1

However there is a lot of inactivity in the trailer in which is it just static camera switching between one another but this is making sure that the audience get into a slow routine and lean into the movie but then all of sudden it all goes off and things, that can’t be imagined would ever happen, start flying towards the screen and making the audience jump out of their seats in fear. Furthermore this is followed by sharp jump cuts, which is common in horror films, and this would have been used to make the audience feel on edge and trying to shield themselves away from the horror and the sudden jumping of the characters

For sound, when something suspicious or out of the ordinary is about to occur they use a quiet and slow rumble effect (non diegetic) to, what I believe to be, set the scene in a way and get the audience ready for what is about to happen next. But then when something does in fact happen they up the volume and slow it down a little and what sounds like a thunder clap to make the event much scarier than what it actually is. This is very effective because it means that the tension can slowly build up and then once the audience are comfortable and relaxed the out of the ordinary suddenly appears and frightens the audience.

To conclude I think that some of the techniques used in this trailer/film are going to be very effective and I am sure that I will try to include at least some of these for my main production.

This trailer has been known as a trailer that subverts the typical connotations of a normal horror genre. This is because the trailer itself shows very little of the trailer and really focuses on the reaction of the audience and how they feel about the events happening in the film. Also the same applies for the film poster as well.