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How is the genre established in the film The Others

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In different films, there are different types of genre. This appeals to all audiences. The viewer’s can also chose what type of film they want to watch. Examples of different types of genre are sci-fi, gangster, western, horror, romance and comedy. Films with sci-fi genre are films like Alien (1979). It is to do with the supernatural which makes it sci-fi, it is to do with an “un-natural being”. Examples of a western genre is Unforgiven (1992). It is set in a typical western setting with dirt tracks, cowboys and horses, showdowns and saloons.

A romantic film would be A Walk to Remember (2003), the main story is of two people falling in love and living through their lives together. A comic film like Ace Ventura Pet Detective (1998) is comedy because it has a senseless main character and is made for the audience to laugh at him and his actions. Musical is also a type of genre; a film of this genre would be The Sound of Music (1965). This is because of most of the things said, are sung and danced to. Horror is an effective genre and very popular, horror films are put in this genre category by their ability to shock or frighten to audience.

It usually consists of a super natural being, whether being a ghost, alien, werewolf or vampires. Considered to be one of the first horror films, Das Cabinet des Caligari (1920) is because of the use of mise-en-scene. Mise-en-scene is from the French language meaning ‘What is put into the scene of frame’. Things that are used for this technique are props, costumes, backgrounds, makeup and facial expressions. As this film is in black and white, the lightning and colour is not that important. The supernatural character was the Somnambulist. His makeup was done so that he looked frightening and different from natural human beings.

For example, he crept everywhere and had circles of black round his eyes, which really stood out from his white, painted face. His costume was dark, so even with the black and white picture, he resembled a shadow. The walls, doors, roofs- all the scenery was crooked and disfigured to give an unnatural, deformed atmosphere. As this film does not have sound apart from instruments playing, the director (Robert Wiene) had to rely on the picture and movements of the actors/actresses to get the genre of horror across. These techniques have been used in more modern films such as Frankenstein (1931).

The staircases and walls are disfigured and crooked which makes the castle that Dr Frankenstein (Colin Clive) us working in, all the more horrific. A more recent horror film is Sleepy Hollow (1999), which is directed by Tim Burton. Burton has used caligari’s techniques. Examples of this is the windmill, it is a classic horror scene. It is at a crooked angle with a dark, clouded background, which portrays evil and horror. The trees that are used in horror films, such as Sleepy Hollow and The Others (2001) are always crooked, dead and leafless.

They are always growing really tall to the sky then bend round to grow back down to the ground, which is symbolist to the ground being hell and horror and evil being in hell. We are studying The Others that is directed by Alejando Amenaba. The story line is of a family that live in a forsaken house, surrounded by fog. This automatically is a setting for traditional horror. They are haunted by an unnatural presence in their house, which is where the horror element comes in. The first relation to horror is the silence at the start, then a piercing scream by Grace (Nicole Kidman).

This creates an eerie beginning. The servants portray a sinister element. It is significant that the two elder servants are white-haired and old. It resembles a horror element. Then there is the normal looking child, Lydia (Elaine Cassidy). Yet because she is mute, this adds suspicion to her normality. Grace’s reply is “the other girl spoke too much anyway”. This is a very vital phrase, sharing that something might have happened to the last servant girl. Grace almost makes it into a comical joke, this could show Grace’s controllable and cold manner to the servants.

The lack of communication is also adding to the sinister element. Mrs Mills (Fionnula Flanagan) is being continuously questioned by Grace, even if the questions are quite uninformative. However she only gives out the tightest amount of information. Before the questions get too heated, she makes an excuse and leaves the room. Examples of this are the scene in which Grace is questioning her in the dining room. This technique keeps the audience guessing and wondering what she could be hiding. However this key point can go unnoticed, yet the scenes have been cut short and this is noticeable.

Communication is kept to a minimum, which makes the house so silent and eerie. Grace mentions that the house does not have radio, telephone or electricity. It cuts the whole family off from the rest of the world, which makes it so lonely and isolated. Light and sound effects are key factors in this film. Music is used as a build up for tension. Loud sounds break the silence such as loud knocks and doors banging. This is a good way of keeping the audience into the story line. The children are also vital to the genre of horror. When you first hear of them, Grace says “perhaps I should introduce you to the children”.

This makes the children seem really unnatural, they could be horrific beings, especially as Grace is really insistent that ALL doors are locked when leaving a certain room and for all signs of light to be shut out. Light usually portrays safety and that is taken away. Then the children come in and they look perfectly normal. The oldest child, Ann (Alakina Mann) and Nicolas (James Bentley). Again the normality is taken away from the situation when it is revealed that they are photosensitive and cannot be exposed to any light, brighter than candlelight.

This makes it so that the whole house will be in perpetual darkness, which is a good technique for horror. The children seem to be dominated by their mother’s possessive behaviour to their religious beliefs and their strict every day routine. Grace does not believe in ghosts so when Mrs Mills says about “Sometimes the World of the Dead gets mixed up with the World of the Living”, it frightens her as it does seem to all make sense as to her child’s sightings and the mysterious noises in the house.

The children’s disease could only be mentally in Grace’s mind and that is her only way of controlling them properly on her own. The atmosphere she controls is shown when the light is used to portray safety. When scenes include going from the dark to the light usually resolve in her experiencing the unnatural. An example of this is when the children are in the kitchen, Ann mentions about “the day Mummy went mad”. Then Nicolas, Ann’s brother starts to disagree strongly and defends his mother.

Grace emerges from the shadows, darkness to light and silences all of them. This keeps the audience in suspense as the story is gradually revealed. Another example would be when she enters from the dark to the lightened room. She enters a room filled with white sheets. This makes her daughter’s earlier observation significant. Ann comments on the traditional viewing of ghosts as things that wear white sheets and chains. Once in the room, Grace hears voices from people that she cannot see, a boy and two women.

She is initially searching for a ghost so when she strips the sheets off, she sees her reflection in the mirror. This is a key hint to the twist at the end as she is searching for a ghost and then sees herself. Genre is established in very obvious ways in The Others. From sudden sound effects to traditional ghostly images, from certain aspects that confirm the silence to the failure of light. Many of these techniques are very obvious which make the film more horrific as the audience can expect something horrible, but have no clue to when or what something might happen.

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