A thriller aims to create high levels of suspense, tension and excitement as main elements. Through this the views emotions are heightened as there is a mixtures of anticipations and expectations. What I have learnt from looking at the codes and conventions of Thriller Films, I think that all the conventions play a key role in bringing the film to life as each element brings surprise, engagement, tension, mystery and creates an atmospheric feel. Personally I feel that sound carries a higher importance as sound connects not only to what emotions viewers gain but also with the visuals. It incorporates the feelings they gained with what they can hear. This overall creates great impact for the viewers as they can be overwhelmed with a range of feelings which makes a thriller film more engaging and adrenalin rushing; resulting in the viewer feeling on edge.
The films I have chosen for my film referencing are Orphan (2009) and Mindscape (2013). Both of these movies are based on the genre of Psychological Thriller. This genre appealed to me because of how interesting and common it is amongst people either you have experienced it, heard of it or seen it somewhere or another. I found that the best way to portray this would be to submerge it into a hybrid genre, making a psychological thriller and into my A2 film.
The plot of Mindscape centers on; John, a detective with the ability to enter people’s memories; he takes on the case of a brilliant but troubled and dangerous 16-year-old girl, Anna, to determine whether she is a sociopath or a victim of trauma. Then there is the film Orphan which is about characters Kate and John Coleman are rebuilding their troubled marriage. Kate had a drinking problem, but is in therapy and she has been sober for one year. The couple decide to adopt a child. When they meet the nine-year-old Russian girl, Esther, at the St. Marina Orphanage, they immediately fall in love with the well-educated orphan. Their young son, Daniel, is hostile to his new sister; but their deaf daughter, little Max, is enchanted with her – at first. Eventually, Kate begins to feel that Esther is manipulative and possibly even psychologically disturbed. John refuses to listen to his wife’s misgivings, and the wounds in their marriage reopen. Kate calls Sister Abigail at the orphanage, and the nun informs her that Esther has a troubled and mysterious history. Kate delves further into Esther’s past and discovers she is not all she pretends to be.
Melissa Fay Greene of The Daily Beast commented:
“The movie Orphan comes directly from this unexamined place in popular culture. Esther’s shadowy past includes Eastern Europe; she appears normal and sweet, but quickly turns violent and cruel, especially toward her mother. These are clichés. This is the baggage with which we saddle abandoned, orphaned, or disabled children given a fresh start at family life.”
Critical reaction to Orphan has been mixed, with the film earning a rating of 56% (43% among the Top Critics) on Rotten Tomatoes, where the consensus is: “While it has moments of dark humor and the requisite scares, Orphan fails to build on its interesting premise and degenerates into a formulaic, sleazy horror/thriller”. It also earned a 42 out of 100 on Metacritic. Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave Orphan 3½ stars out of 4, writing: “You want a good horror film about a child from hell, you got one.”Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle also gave a positive review, saying: “Orphan provides everything you might expect in a psycho-child thriller, but with such excess and exuberance that it still has the power to surprise.”
Todd McCarthy, of Variety, was less impressed, writing: “Teasingly enjoyable rubbish through the first hour, Orphan becomes genuine trash during its protracted second half.” Manohla Dargis of The New York Times wrote, “Actors have to eat like the rest of us, if evidently not as much, but you still have to wonder how the independent film mainstays Vera Farmiga and Peter Sarsgaard ended up wading through Orphan and, for the most part, not laughing.” Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly gave the film a D+ score, saying, “Orphan isn’t scary — it’s garish and plodding.”
Openly (and at times vehemently) negative reviews are abundant: from “galling, distasteful trash” (Eric D. Snider) to “old-fashioned and trashy horror flick” (Emanuel Levy) and “relentlessly bad”, albeit “entertaining” (Rob Vaux). According to Dennis Schwartz of Ozus’ World Movie Reviews, “The problem with Orphan isn’t merely that the film is idiotic–it’s that it’s also sleazy, formulaic and repellant.” And according to Keith Phipps from The A.V. Club, “If director Jaume Collet-Serra set out to make a parody of horror-film clichés, he succeeded brilliantly.”
Although the film received mixed reviews, Isabelle Fuhrman’s performance was acclaimed and positively received. Emanuel Levy said of Fuhrman “acquites herself with a strong performance, affecting a rather convincing Russian accent and executing sheer evil with an admirable degree of calm and earnestness.” Todd McCarthy proclaims that Fuhrman (as well as Bennett and Engineer) is terrific and that she “makes Esther calmly beyond reproach even when faced with monumental evidence against her, and has the requisite great evil eye.” Mick LaSalle continues in that Fuhrman “steals the show” and that she “injects nuance into this portrayal, as well as an arch spirit.” And as said by Roger Ebert, she “is not going to be convincing as a nice child for a long, long time.”
The film was the #4 film at the box office for its opening weekend, making $12.77 million total, behind G-Force, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and The Ugly Truth respectively. As of September 9, 2009 the film has grossed a total of $47,886,036.
Orphan was released on DVD and Blu-ray on October 27, 2009 in the US and will be released in the UK on November 30, 2009.
John Washington, a “memory detective,” is assigned a seemingly simple case: he must make Anna Greene, a disturbed sixteen-year-old on a hunger strike, eat. Difficulties ensue, though, as he finds Anna could be much more dangerous than she seems.
What if a sixteen-year-old girl was a diabolical genius? For real, imagine what that would be like. For real. And such is the spirit of Jorge Dorado’s new psychological thriller, ANNA.
We can tell by all the sour looks, boozing, and flashbacks to his wife’s suicide that John Washington’s (Mark Strong) life isn’t going well. He’s a remote viewer—like Ben Kingsley in SUSPECT ZERO, but more Jason Statham-esque, and not a serial killer. His boss, Sebastian (Brian Cox), head honcho of the company Dreamsc–I mean–Mindscape, is understanding. He recognizes, after John’s wife’s suicide, John isn’t ready to be back on the big time cases. So he assigns Washington a seeming cut and dry one. A wealthy family in town needs a memory detective to get their moody daughter, Anna Greene, off a hunger strike. She’s moody, all right–and troubled–Lord knows she’s troubled. She can’t even go outside! It’s nice because, if you forget at any point in the film that she is a disturbed teenage girl, a reminder will be coming any minute.
The film was released on DVD and Blu-ray in Spain on June 3, 2014,and on DVD and Blu-ray in the United States on August 5, 2014. It was released on August 25, 2014 in the United Kingdom, August 26, 2014 in the Netherlands, and November 20, 2014 in Germany.