Paranormal Activities Genre Analysis Film Studies Essay
This essay will analyse the text of the movie Paranormal activity 2 by using the theory of genre and compare it with a the older version of the same movie Paranormal Activities, and also The Abandoned 2006, to reach a decision about which genre is most suitable for this text and why.
Genres are used to categorize films according to their elements and have set convections. There are many different types of genres like sci-fi, romantic, western, horror, comedy, etc. In this research I will be analyzing the film Paranormal activity 2 using the theory of genre analysis by its major elements and icons like sounds, camera view, colours, background, objects and location. For example if we see flying UFOs in a movie that probably means it is a Science fiction movie of the sci-fi genre. Some films have elements of more than one genre, this is called hybrid genre. I have divided my research essay into several parts, starting with explaining the theory and approach of genre. Genres are also sub categorized according to their special qualities, for example in horror genre, sub-categories are The Gothic, Supernatural , Occult, Ghost Films, Psychological Horror, Monster Movies, Slashers, Body horror, Splatter, Gore Films, Exploitation Cinema, Video Nasties and many more (Cherry, 2009, p. 5).
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Genre theory is used in the study and making of films in order to categorize the films. Genre is the type of a film or it is based on a theme; for example horror , thriller , western , romance and many more. Films are ascribed to particular genre in other ways also, such as narrative, actors and director. By using genre theory we can describe the type of film (Film Studies essay on Genre, 2006). When audiences think about the western genre they know that within this film category they may expect to see gun fights, horses and cowboys. Another example would be horror films where the audience knows everyone will die except one. The audiences who go to those films expect to see zombies, werewolves and more. They also expect certain content and a certain style of film making; therefore genre is a way of colouring the film on the basis of different elements and themes (Wetjen, Deshotels, 2005).
In this part of the essay I will analyze the movie Paranormal activity 2 on the basis of theory of genre. In the movie Paranormal Activity 2 the name speaks the genre itself; paranormal activities were never proved as they are supernatural and cannot be proved. Paranormal means not in accordance with scientific laws, unnatural or something which is not normal (Coraor, 2008).
The movie Paranormal activity 2 was directed by Tod Williams and written by Oren Peli who has been a writer and director in lots of films. He has always been more interested in writing horror and documentary. Paranormal activity 2 is a remake of the movie Paranormal activity in 2007 which was written and directed by Oren Peli. The same storyline has been used to remake this movie (Doc Films, 2007). The actors have the same name as the characters in the movie, Katie and Micah, These actors were not celebrities, and they are plotted in the movie to give a generalised and realistic feel. There is..., no supervening celebrity identity, no star persona, to yank us out of the fiction, to remind us simply by gravitational necessity that there must be a reality outside the fiction (Rehak, 2010).
In the story of the movie we see there is a couple. Micah and Katie who just moved into stay together in San Diego. Starting from the first day Katie notices some spooky things happening in their house when they sleep. Micah takes it as if Katie is just joking, but when he himself notices weird things happening in their house, he buys a handy camera to know what happens when they go to sleep. The very first night he doesn t get anything in the recording but on the second day he perceives that the door opened itself at 03:00 A.M when they were asleep. He sets the camera on recording every night and observes new things happening every night, but on a random night he noticed Katie got up, stood by the door for 3 hours then went back to bed. The things kept happening in their house and finally Katie decided to call a demonologist, who wasn t able to help them. In the end of the film there is a scene in which Katie wakes up and goes down to the lounge, and just after a few seconds she screams, Micah runs down and notices that Katie was overruled by the evil and in the last scene she hits Micah on the camera, the hit was so quick that it actually fills the viewer with more fear. Micah dies and Katie went missing (Bundy, 2009), (Follett, 2009).
There are some major horror elements noticed in the movie which proves the horror genre approach. Firstly I will discuss the sounds in the movie. In the movie audio is the major element. There are lots of different sounds which relate it to the horror genre. These sounds are used for creating real time feelings. The sounds used in movies for special effects or dubbing are called Foleys. Foleys used in this movie are hitting sounds, heavy footsteps, screaming, musical cues and some classical horror music. The footsteps and other unexpected sounds are mostly used to show someone s presence, but when we find out there is no one around, it builds up fear. Same is the case of hitting sound or crash, they are mostly used to break the viewer s attention and create fear. The reason is when someone watches a suspense or a horror sequence they get so much involved into it that their eyes doesn t allow any type of interference, the role of hitting sound is to break the concentration which keeps on increasing fear in viewers. The hitting sound is mostly used to show that something happened which is not in front of our eyes. The Music in the horror films are sounds that most of the audience recognize. A long eerie musical made using strings or horns as the victim approaches a closed door (for example), followed by a violent orchestral hit as the victim opens the door to encounter whatever is hidden behind it. This is a type of musical cue that is quite common in horror films. Whenever the audience hears this build-up, it knows that something is going to happen (H binette, 1999). The other major element of the horror genre noticed was a screaming sound, which generates a feel that something harmful happened. The Screaming challenges the horror movie genre s damsel in distress by inverting the power dynamics and charging the scream with a potency that overcomes any would-be menace (McDonald, 2010)
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Most of the paranormal activities in the movie took place in the night. Darkness is an important element of the horror genre and is often used in horror films. Darkness is used in horror films to sustain the fear and creates the feeling of being isolated. In the darkness, things are hardly visible, so if one cannot see anything, it will create tension and fear in their mind Mortals fear Night chiefly because she brings darkness, and with it inability to see that is frustrating and terrifying (Simone).
A basic handy camera has been used to give it a more personalised feel. Most of the shots in the movie were point of view shots (POV). POV shots are used to make the viewer feel as if they are looking from their own eyes; make them feel a part of the film and also to show as if the viewer is looking through the eyes of a specific character. A sequence that is shot as if the viewer were looking through the eyes of a specific character. The shot is a common trick of the horror film: that is, we are placed in the position of the killer who is slowly sneaking up on a victim. Note that horror directors sometimes "cheat" with this device; that is, after a building of suspense, it can also turn out that we were not in the position of the killer after all (Dino, 2002).
Most of the film has been shot in a bedroom to give it a more personal feel. As in an article Peli said. But if you set up the setting for all the horrific things in someone s bedroom then that s what you re going to be thinking about when you re lying in bed trying to fall asleep (Anjos, 2009). This makes a person feel that it might happen when they sleep. The door in the movie is used as the medium of tension, as we can see that the door has been placed as a border between the evil and the characters. All the activities in the movie take place in relation with the door even if it is around of within. Over the two weeks of recordings, the demonic presence becomes stronger every night, ranging from the doors moving and footsteps to even more scream-inducing moments (Ryder, 2009).
The movie comes under the sub genre Supernatural, occult and ghost film as we can notice presence of evil in the movie which means it is related to supernatural elements like evils, etc. Films that involves interventions of spirits, ghosts, witchcrafts, devils and other entities into the real world, often featuring uncanny elements (Cherry, 2009, p. 5).
The conclusion is that genres are categories of films based on different elements and theme. The genre approach is used to analyse a movie using the genre theory. Using genre approach this research proves that locations, darkness, hitting sound, screaming, dark colours are elements of horror genre. All these elements together create tension, suspense and fear. The activities happen in the house were supernatural as they have a relation with evil spirits and so it come under the sub-genre Supernatural, occult and ghost film . Thus the research proves that the movie Paranormal Activity 2 is a Horror film with supernatural activities. In this research I have learned that all these elements together give a greater impact and complete the convention of horror genre.
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