In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?
In our coursework piece we decided to make our film within the genre of Psychological Thriller...to really get a sense of tension and atmosphere throughout the introduction, which in the end is revealed to be a dream. Typically dreams are used as a method of narrative enigma within the genre, but also intended to add some ambiguity to the films themselves, for example Shutter Island (2010)
Which used its dream sequences to convey the sense of loss that the main character is suffering having lost his wife and provide some subtle narrative enigma to the character without providing obvious exposition.
Donnie Darko (2001) provides us with a very 'cheerful' introduction with Donnie cycling through american suburbia, having woken up seemingly at random upon a hillside, immediately the audience are wondering what has happened, why Donnie has woken up in this unusual place; he presents himself as a basic archetype within the genre common to psychological Thrillers, the troubled protagonist- this is re-enforced by his dinner conversation with his family me mentions his therapist and his sister comments how Donnie has not taken his medication.
This archetype is used one again in American Psycho (2001), with the psycho of the title being the anti hero- Patrick Bateman, the embodiment of everything wrong with the 80's Yuppie culture. He murders women and men whom he lures away, in very explicit manner, however in a 'twist ending', another convention, we find that it might just have all been in his head. However it is left ambiguous via the fact that mistaken identity is a common and reoccurring motif throughout the film.
The opening shots of American Psycho have what looks like blood dripping down onto the screen a white background, we replicated this shot with Black and white blood dripping onto a pillow. The black and white idea coming from Memento (2000) Which features strong manipulation of chronology, but only we stuck with the convention of Black ands white being old and in the past with the colour scenes being set in the present. However we used the black and white scenes only for several seconds, like intentional glitches, to show how fragmented the protagonists mind is in the first place and provide some basic binary opposition with the color scenes. Also to utilize a sense of dread, everything in the black and white scenes are presented as ominous and eerie. This again stems from Shutter Island.
Obviously our biggest deviation from established convention would be the use of a teenage protagonist, something that only Donnie Darko has done in recent years, with most psychological Thrillers tending to use older male characters. Such as Patrick Bateman from American Psycho and Teddy Daniels in Shutter Island also Trevor Reznik from The Machinist (2004), all of whom are much older characters than the one presented in our film and Donnie Darko.
We felt this played best to our film and we reflected that in our misc-en-scene, attempting to show a typical Teenager with baggy blue clothes and Jeans and a fairly messed up room with litter located around the room, with a sly inter-textual reference to American Psycho the book by Bret Easton Ellis which lays on the characters desk. This would help to understand our prefered reading of insanity and/or a fragmented personality. However the audience didn't always pick up on this reading and often thought that it was being too confusing. But we did try to portray a teenagers room, one who had personality problems which is why we left it so blank as a reflection of the characters immediate personality, littered but bare.
We intentionally left the house bare as to add to the ambiguity of the house as a dream creation it needed to be left bare and unassuming to properly allow the audience to convey what they saw the house as being, with the characters room being fairly ill kept to suggest his issues.
Our introduction is rather similar to that of Lost Highway (1997), in the way that the character moves around the house to follow something that he's heard, and the main inspiration for the dream sequence itself came from the one within Lost Highway, the slow movement and echoing of a voice/ sound which we attempted to emulate within our film.
Also lost Highway features several sequences in hallways, with over the shoulder views, something we also tried to emulate in our media piece, to really create the sense of fear that is found throughout the film.