Top 10 Horror Shots – Rhys Crane

Top 10 Horror shots

  • Off kilter – this shot is where the camera is at an angle so everything looks slanted. This adds more suspense and tension as it makes the audience focus into the image more so they understand what is going on, which could lead to an effective jump scare. A good use of an off kilter shot is that it could represent a victim laying on the ground who is either helpless or dead.1)
  • Over the shoulder shot (of killer) – this is used to create a very tense feel of the scene. This is because it is usually used first when a victim meets the killer for the first time. This is so we see everything at the same time as the victim does so we instantly feel connected to the victim, making their death or injury a powerful way of getting across to the audience.2)
  • Close up (on weapon) – this shot is used so we understand the main way that the killer plans on killing his victims. This shot instantly brings this weapon into the film and we know that it is going to be a major part of the film and have a real connection with the killer. It also helps us understand how the killer is killing them and helps us feel the same pain as the victims, having a squeamish effect.3)
  • Close up/extreme close up (of fear) – this shot is one of the most effective when it comes to showing the emotion of the victim. This close up of fear is usually at their eyes as this gives away the most signs of fear, such as tears slowly falling. This makes us understand the way the victim is feeling making us connect and give empathy towards the victim.4)
  • 360 degree angle shot (to show isolation/fear) – this is used so that we understand how isolated the victim is. This is effective as we are able to see all of the surroundings and understand how much potential danger the victim is and how vulnerable they may be. With the proof of the isolation the victim has, we understand the fear that comes with it. We begin to feel the fear of the victim as they are all alone and have nowhere to go when they are in danger.5)
  • High angle shot (to show victim’s vulnerability) – this is used very commonly throughout a horror film. This because it is one of the easiest shots to understand as we are able to see how little power the victim has and how vulnerable they are towards the killer.6)
  • Low angle shot (to show killer’s power) – this is used just as frequently as the high angle shot. The purpose of this is to show how much power the killer has compared to the victim. This also shows that the killer is in control of the situation and that the victim cannot do anything to prevent that happening.7)
  • How to stab someone without hurting them – this is used a lot more frequently in older films rather than modern. This is used so that we understand that someone is being stabbed without actually seeing it, which can actually become more powerful than it may seem as we feel the stabbing as we have to imagine it ourselves.8)
  • Point of view of victim and killer (as victim crawls away on their back and killer approaches) – this is a very powerful shot used. This is used so that we instantly become the victim and understand that there is very little chance that they are able to escape and emphasises the emotion of fear which is a key aspect of a horror film.9)
  • power of suggestion – this is when the audience gather what is going on from the sounds created and the actions completed, but we do not actually see what’s going on, for example, in Psycho when she is being stabbed in the shower. We don’t actually see her getting stabbed but we understand from her screaming and the actions from the actor stabbing her.10)

Rhys Crane


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