Opening scene – Scream (Wes Craven, 1996)
The two representations that I shall be discussing are youth and gender. These are key factors of the opening scene as you get an impression of who the film is aimed at and what type of film it could possibly be.
Youth is shown very clearly throughout the opening scene of the film “Scream”. We get an instant feel of this representation when the scene starts with us seeing a teenage female home alone. This is aimed straight at the youth of today as t almost puts the in the position of the girl, making them able to relate to the situation she is in, which is home alone in the middle of nowhere. Another example of when youth is shown is when she is talking to the murderer on the phone whilst they are talking, the topic of them going out on a date comes up. This is related to the youth of today as they are the main age group who go out on the most dates. This also relates us to the teenager as we are around the same age as her so can relate on the topic of going out on dates and meeting new people.
At first, the girl is confident when talking to the murderer (no one, including her, knows he is a murderer) as she talks very openly as is laughing and smiling like most teenagers do when they are on the phone. When the murderer starts to make comments that only people who were by the house would know, she starts to realise something is up. The music starts to become quite upbeat and intense. The reason behind this could be because she is in possible danger and we can relate the pace of the music to her heartbeat as it is beating quickly due to her being terrified.
Gender is also represented very clearly in this scene. The obvious gender shown and aimed at is female. This is clear as the film starts off with a female teenager who is at home alone. Although this scene engages the whole of the youth population, it mainly grabs the attention of females. This is due to it being more relatable to them as she is the only one in the scene up to the point until we hear the voice of the murderer, who sounds clearly male. Another way that females are represented in this scene is that the girl is talking about how she is going to just have a chilled out night with a film. This is relatable to females as this is more common for females to do rather than males.
A key aspect of mise-en-scene throughout the scene is the telephone. It plays a very important role as it is the only way that the teenager and the murderer are able to communicate. As the scene starts to progress and the teenager is becoming more and more scared, she hangs up on the murderer more often. Each time he calls back, the phone seems to ring louder. This plays a vital role in the scene as it makes the audience really engaged in the scene and grabs their eye from the beginning to make them continue watching the film. Another aspect of mise-en-scene is the location that the film is set. It is set in a huge house in the middle of nowhere. This is a key aspect of a horror film as the characters inside the house are isolated from much of society and will take a while to be accessed which is usually why they are targeted by murderers in horror films.
There are quite a few different camera shots throughout the opening scene. One of these shots was a tracking shot. This was taken to make us feel like we are the girl and we are following her footsteps, making us more involved in the scene and more cautious about what is going to happen. Another camera shot taken was an over the shoulder shot. This is usually used to make us feel more engaged in a conversation, but in this scene, it is used differently. In this scene, this camera shot is used so that we are viewing the scene from the girl’s point of view. This makes us feel more involved as we are feeling the way that she could possibly be feeling which makes us wondering what will happen next. Also, another shot taken in this scene was a high angle shot. This was shown when the murderer had the teenager worrying and scared of what was going to happen to her. This high angle shot could have given us the impression that the teenage girl had no control of the situation and the murderer was so much higher up than he and made her look small.
There was many different edits in this scene which helped contribute to making the film have as much of an impact as it did. An example of the editing used was rhythmic editing. This is when consecutive shot lengths create a beat or rhythm. This was occurring when the girl felt like she was under threat and was panicking a lot. The quick cut shots were creating a tense beat. This had a major effect on the scene as it felt like the beat was representing her heartbeat and shows the fear that she has. This raises our heartbeat as well as the camera shots make us feel involved and we feel the same emotions as the female character.
To conclude, youth and gender is represented throughout the entire opening scene of what we have studied. This is shown as the main female character is both a teenager and female which links us with the representation of youth and gender. The youth is shown through the scene through the girl as we pick up what she enjoys doing and the way she talks. She enjoys doing things such as going out on dates and staying at home and watching a film with some popcorn, which most teenagers, girl in particular, enjoy doing. This makes a sense of realisation and instantly makes us involved and feel exactly the same emotions as what the character is feeling. Also, the mise-en-scene, camera, sound and editing all also contribute to the aim of the film as they create tension and fear. This is what is required in all horror films and the aim of horror films is generally at the younger population. This opening scene ticks all the boxes of a horror film and heavily represents youth and gender as well as linking it to the current youth generation.