Tuesday, 25 February 2014

The Blair Witch Project (1999) Film Review Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sanchez

The Blair Witch Project (1999) Film Review Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sanchez

Figure 1   

The Blair Witch Project is an American Horror film directed by Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sanchez in 1999. The film follows three students as they go about filming a documentary about the Blair Witch in a forest which leads to their disappearance. 
The Blair Witch Project was classed as one of scariest films ever by many of its audience after watching the 81 minute horror. But one of the factors contributing to this scare factor is that the film uses very simple horror. "Horror films that tap into our hard-wired instinctive fears probe a deeper place than movies with more sophisticated threats." (Ebert, 1999). This film didn't rely on elaborate special effects or a ton of gore to induce fear into the audience, instead it uses fears that we can relate to. Fears such as darkness and the fear of the unknown. We never actually see the "witch" in the film, we only watch and experience the torments of the demon. People feel a lot more comfortable when they know where a particular sound is coming from, but when you can here something whistling through the trees in the dead of night and don't know what it is, things seem a lot more scarier.

The Blair Witch Project was even created with a tiny budget compared to most Hollywood Horror Blockbusters and was still a huge success. "It does the job without guns or a glimpse of a naked, screaming coed and with a budget ($75,000) that couldn't buy George Lucas a proper car." (Travers, 1999). Apart from the opening minutes of public interviews, you only see 3 actors for the whole film. This, not only being a lot cheaper than hiring a huge cast and crew makes the film seem a lot more personal and makes the audience feel more intimate with the characters. The entire film is recorded on a small hand held video camera and gives the effect that the events are being documented by the characters as seen in Figure 2. This also gives a much more realistic feel to the film and that it could be believed to be true.

Figure 2 


Another factor that plays as a huge strength to the films scariness is it's realism. The fact that it is recorded on a home video camera and is set out as though the whole story is very believable all contributes to the horror of the film. "The raw, amateurish-seeming scenes that result, with their repetitiveness and lack of focus, only pull us deeper into the film's illusion that what we're seeing really happened." (Rose, 1999) There is nothing in the film that we actually see that couldn't be true, there are no huge man eating monsters stomping through the woods, we only experience the fear running through the characters. The characters fear is also very believable whilst watching. This is due to that fact that most of the scenes and dialogue were improvised, the actors were only given a base outline of the plot. This means that the fear that we are seeing could actually be true fear. Another way in which the directors make the film convincing is by including interviews of residents of the local area about the witch legend, seen in Figure 3. This gives the effect that the rumour is a popular story and makes the audience follow the crowd and start to question whether the tale is true.

Figure 3 



Bibliography

Ebert, R (1999) The Blair Witch Project Film Review http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/the-blair-witch-project-1999 (Accessed on 25/02/14)

Rose, L (1999) The Blair Witch Project Film Review http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/style/longterm/movies/videos/blairwitchprojectrose.htm (Accessed on 25/02/14)

Travers, P (1999) The Blair Witch Project Film Review http://www.rollingstone.com/movies/reviews/the-blair-witch-project-19990730 (Accessed on 25/02/14)

Illustrations 

Figure 1, The Blair Witch Project (1999) Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sanchez, [Film Poster] USA, Haxan Films, http://www.impawards.com/1999/posters/blair_witch_project_ver3.jpg (Accessed on 25/02/14)

Figure 2, The Blair Witch Project (1999) Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sanchez, [Film Still] USA, Haxan Films, http://mos.totalfilm.com/images/t/the-blair-witch-remake-project--430-75.jpg (Accessed on 25/02/14)

Figure 3, The Blair Witch Project (1999) Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sanchez, [Film Still] USA, Haxan Films, http://cdn2-b.examiner.com/sites/default/files/styles/article_large/hash/16/17/1351101781_6816_mary.jpg?itok=QuGJj30l (Accessed on 25/02/14) 





Thursday, 20 February 2014

Pre-Viz - From Script To Screen

Made a huge error of not paying attention to the size of each scene meaning that the final video is pretty small.

Animatic - From Script To Screen

I have still got an issue with the sound syncing when uploading to YouTube and am unable to resolve this.

The Art Of... - From Script To Screen

The Art Of

CD Cover - From Script To Screen


Final Storyboards - From Script To Screen



Final Script - From Script To Screen

From Script to Screen Script

Story Development - From Script To Screen

Story Development

Preparatory Storyboards - From Script To Screen








Skipping Rope Concept Art - From Script To Screen


Desert Island Concept Art - From Script To Screen


Laboratory Concept Art - From Script To Screen



Supporting Character Drawings - From Script To Screen





Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Jaws (1975) Film Review Steven Spielberg

Jaws (1975) Film Review Steven Spielberg 

Figure 1

Jaws is a thriller film directed by Steven Spielberg in 1975. The film tells us the story of a town that is being tormented by an enormous great white shark.
One of the most iconic and well known features to this film is it's sound track composed by John Williams. This sound track is known world wide and could be considered as one of the most tension fueled musical scores. As soon as the audience hears the start of the famous score we know that something horrific is a about to ensue and an attack from the shark is on its way. This warning then creates tension; we know something is about to happen but we just don't know when. "Its tone of impending terror is more responsible for the power of the film than the sightings of the beast itself." (Haflidason, 2001). However, in some scenes the soundtrack is not used at all, this giving a larger scare when something pops out from the scene. An example of this is when we see Hooper scuba diving to inspect a boat. We expect something bad to happen considering its dark and Hooper is underwater, but just when you think everything is safe, no warning music to be heard, Spielberg throws a terrifying dead body into the face of the audience producing a massive shock, seen in Fig. 2.


Figure 2

Another way Spielberg creates the fear factor in Jaws is not actually seeing the shark for the majority of the film. "Steven Spielberg's strategy all through the film, where the shark is more talked about than seen, and seen more in terms of its actions than in the flesh." (Ebert, 2000). This creates the fear of the unknown for both the characters and the audience. We know and have seen what the beast can do but we don't know where it is on when its going to attack. Spielberg gives us this feeling throughout the whole film by showing us, not even five minutes into the film, a horrendous attack on a helpless teenager. as seen in Fig. 3.

Figure 3

However, this fear factor did not come down to purely directional genius,but also technical difficulties revolving around the shark itself. Due to many malfunctions, shots of the shark seemed far to unrealistic to be shown and so were discarded. This yet proved to make the film a massive success, as the difficulties lead to amazing camera work such as point of view shots from the shark. "Although these difficulties made filming a nightmare for Spielberg and his cast and crew, they lead to most of the film’s suspense and critical acclaim." (Stephenson, 1998). These shots puts us in the fins of the shark just before an attack on an unsuspecting victim. We feel helpless by wanting to warn the victim that we know there is an attack so close by but are unable to do anything about it.
There are many other shots in the film that create a sense of how the characters are feeling. One in particular that stood out to me was a shot of Brody on the beach as he realizes an attack is occurring. Spielberg uses a gut wrenching zoom onto the main character to create the feeling that Brody's heart has just dropped and really brings out the fear spread across his face (Fig. 4). 


Figure 4



Bibliography

Ebert, R (2000) Jaws Film Review http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/great-movie-jaws-1975 (Accessed on 11/02/14)

Haflidason, A (2001) Jaws Film Review http://www.bbc.co.uk/films/2000/07/14/jaws_review.shtml (Accessed on 11/02/14)

Stephenson, J (1998) Jaws and Spielberg's Rise to Auteur Status http://jawsmovie.com/1998/05/jaws-and-spielbergs-rise-to-auteur-status/ (Accessed on 11/02/14)

Illustrations 

Figure 1, Jaws (1975) Steven Spielberg [Film Poster] USA, Zanuck/Brown Productions, http://2warpstoneptune.files.wordpress.com/2013/06/jaws-poster.jpg  (Accessed on 11/02/14)

Figure 2, Jaws (1975) Steven Spielberg [Film Still] USA, Zanuck/Brown Productions, http://images.fandango.com/MDCsite/images/featured/201208/jaws-dead-body.jpg (Accessed on 11/02/14)

Figure 3, Jaws (1975) Steven Spielberg [Film Still] USA, Zanuck/Brown Productions, http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-xmYfgxy927A/UCQ2Akfx5hI/AAAAAAAAIqs/mqnp8vh98TI/s400/Jaws-first-victim-swimmer.jpg (Accessed on 11/02/14)

Figure 4, Jaws (1975) Steven Spielberg [Film Still] USA, Zanuck/Brown Productions, http://4.bp.blogspot.com/--WE9Gg0XqGo/UCQ2APV-AEI/AAAAAAAAIqk/4ifjKHBtE40/s1600/Jaws-chief-roy-scheider.jpg  (Accessed on 11/02/14)





Although these difficulties made filming a nightmare for Spielberg and his cast and crew, they lead to most of the film’s suspense and critical acclaim.
Read more at http://jawsmovie.com/1998/05/jaws-and-spielbergs-rise-to-auteur-status/#G1HXpdz7uDd4Flfl.99
Although these difficulties made filming a nightmare for Spielberg and his cast and crew, they lead to most of the film’s suspense and critical acclaim.
Read more at http://jawsmovie.com/1998/05/jaws-and-spielbergs-rise-to-auteur-status/#G1HXpdz7uDd4Flfl.99
Although these difficulties made filming a nightmare for Spielberg and his cast and crew, they lead to most of the film’s suspense and critical acclaim.
Read more at http://jawsmovie.com/1998/05/jaws-and-spielbergs-rise-to-auteur-status/#G1HXpdz7uDd4Flfl.99

Although these difficulties made filming a nightmare for Spielberg and his cast and crew, they lead to most of the film’s suspense and critical acclaim.
Read more at http://jawsmovie.com/1998/05/jaws-and-spielbergs-rise-to-auteur-status/#G1HXpdz7uDd4Flfl.99


Tuesday, 4 February 2014

The Birds (1963) Film Review Alfred Hitchcock

The Birds (1963) Film Review Alfred Hitchcock

Figure 1

The Birds is a suspense/horror film directed by Alfred Hitchcock in 1963. The story follows a young women as she travels to Bodega Bay in the pursuit of a man she encountered in San Francisco. As the film progresses more and more strange bird attacks are inflicted on the small fishing town. 
In the entirety of this film, Hitchcock doesn't once give an explanation for the attacks by the birds. There are many scenes of characters debating and arguing for a reason behind the attacks but we are never given a definitive answer. This perhaps was to put us in the shoes of the film characters and throw the audience into the nightmare scenario. We know as much or as little as the characters know thus making us ask the same questions as to why the birds are attacking. This therefore makes the film scarier as a large fear for the public is the fear of the unknown. Glasby explains "No explanations are offered, though critics theorise that the spoiled, sexually forward Melanie is somehow to blame." (Glasby, 2013). After watching the film, the audience are then left theorizing about an explanation for the film. Many believe that the attacks represent the jealousy and competition between the lead female characters for the strong confident male. 

Figure 2

Another method Hitchcock used to put the audience into the scenario of the film is to have no soundtrack.  "The film's non-existent musical score is replaced by an electronic soundtrack...Hitchcock introduced a fascinating new personality for the film" (Unknown, s.d.). The reason why this puts into the scenario of the film is that life doesn't come with a musical soundtrack, only natural sounds. So by not including a musical score in the film the flapping and fluttering and the squawks of the birds become ever more intensified. The intensity of the bird sounds can especially be seen in the opening credits of the film. We find ourselves watching and hearing around 2 minutes of constant fluttering of birds and very soon this sound makes even watching the start of the film very uncomfortable and on edge.  

Figure 3

Once again Hitchcock creates another tension filled suspense film as wait constantly for the next attack on an unsuspecting victim. One scene in particular that masters this suspense is one showing Melanie, our female lead, quietly and peacefully having a cigarette whilst a a flock of large crows slowly builds up on a climbing frame behind her. "The suspense of not knowing if or when they will attack is the really scary part.  A single crow isn't scary, but a flock of thousands all around you, watching your every move, can be terrifying." (Nash, 2010). This suspense is created by including no dialogue and constinually cutting between shots of Melanie and the ever growing flock. Hitchcock then tortures the audience by not giving the attack the they were waiting for for so long. You find yourself becoming ever more like you're watching a pantomime, constantly wanting to shout "It's behind you!". 

Figure 4



Bibliography 

Glasby, M (2013) Hitch establishes a new pecking order… http://www.totalfilm.com/reviews/blu-ray/the-birds-50th-anniversary-edition  (Accessed on 04/02/14) 

Nash, S (2010) The Birds Film Review http://www.threemoviebuffs.com/review/birds (Accessed on 04/02/14) 

Unknown, (s.d.) The Birds (1963) Film Review http://www.filmsite.org/bird.html (Accessed on 04/02/14) 

Illustrations

Figure 1, The Birds (1963) Alfred Hitchcock [Film Poster] USA, Universal Pictures, http://coreyholms.com/portfolio/72/the_birds.jpg (Accessed on 04/02/14) 

Figure 2, The Birds (1963) Alfred Hitchcock [Film Still] USA, Universal Pictures, http://www.fact.co.uk/media/3623555/The%20Birds%202.jpg (Accessed on 04/02/14) 

Figure 3, The Birds (1963) Alfred Hitchcock [Film Still] USA, Universal Pictures, http://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/02105/the-birds_2105331i.jpg (Accessed on 04/02/14) 

Figure 4, The Birds (1963) Alfred Hitchcock [Film Still] USA, Universal Pictures, http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-KpES1o8Foxc/TzsXHJcb6_I/AAAAAAAAAZA/pzkQqNMGs8A/s1600/birds_shot4l.jpg (Accessed on 04/02/14)