In order to find out about the genre of thrillers as a whole, I watched The Usual Suspects, a mainstream thriller from 1995 directed by Bryan Singer. Singer describes this film as " Double Indemnity meets Rashomon" as the hints throughout the film can only be realised on second veiw, after the full storyline has been revealed.
Elements of a Thriller:
- there is often a twist in the storyline, often near the end, to keep the audience engaged
- the police are usually involved, the storyline often involves some kind of fingers up to the police force
- there is always criminal activity
- the final moments of the film are often when the rest of the film becomes clear
- the identity of the villian is often known from the beggining of the film, but it is only clear at the end what they have done
- there is always themes of death, however the deaths aren't dwelled on like in horror movies, the deaths are cold blooded and not to gory. The storyline is more important than the deaths
- The criminal activity is often on a large scale, and quite impossible to happen in real life, such as conspiracies and overthrowing of the law
- the killer or villain is always right under the polices noses, which creates excitement
- The villain is always very clever, there are always lies in the storyline, which the audience believe until the end
- the storyline often plays on stereotypes, for instance in the Usual Suspects the disabled character is treated as weak and stupid until the end when it is revealed that he is the clever villain
- there are often flashbacks, the audience has to concentrate to keep up
There are different types of thrillers such as Film Noir, neo-noir, psychological, political, spy, action, crime and conspiracy thrillers.
All of this information will help me when deciding what kind of thriller to base my opening on and what elements i will use in my storyline.