Existing Horror Trailer Textual Analysis

Conventions of a horror trailer:

  • titles are mainly shown at the end
  • isolated location -not many people around
  • scary/eerie music
  • shows the ‘best bits’ of the film to attract the audience
  • camera angles and framing techniques that create tension such as close up shots
  • quick scenes that change which are achieved through editing
  • binary oppositions – good vs evil

The Sixth Sense Trailer

Setting – scenes in this trailer are shot mostly in the young boys house, this represents how the horror is within this house, this creates fear in the audience as the home is meant to be a familiar setting. Another location shot is inside a church, this is another convention that horror story lines revolve around religion, ghosts and spirits. This also reflects the storyline whereby the young boy can see dead people.


Costume, hair and make-up

Here the costumes and make up are very natural.

Diegetic sound 

Speech is used as well as other sounds such as door slams, the voulme here is increased to emphasise this.

Non diagetic sound is used throughout and it picks up in pace as the suspense builds throughout the trailer.

Sound Effects

Voiceover – The young boys voice is present throughout the majority of the trailer, as he is the victim we see and hear everything from his point of view, this makes us sympathise and fear for this character.


Close up – these shots are used throughout to emphasise emotions of specific characters, for example when Bruce Willis is lying in bed a close up shot shows how scared he is.

Mid shots – a mid shot is used right at the very beginning where the boy is in the car talking to his mum, this shot in conversational and creates realism.

Long shots – a long shot is used when the mum stands in the door way, here the mum is isolated which conveys her being vulnerable  this shot has also been edited with an earthquake effect which shakes the frame making the audience disorientated.



High Angle – an example of a high angle used in this trailer is when the boy is lying on the floor asleep, again this makes him appear vulnerable representing him as the victim of the narrative.

Low Angle


Transitions such as fade out are used regularly, clips are also cut short so the trailer has a fast pace which creates suspense. Slow motion is also used to elongate certain scenes, for example when the boy is screaming the scene is lengthened, this reinforces how scared he is by seeing dead people. A red filter has also been used which successfully represents the horror genre as this is a convention used within the genre.


In terms of narrative structure the trailer follows a linear narrative structure. However a disequilibrium is identified very early on in the trailer.


The main character in the film is a young boy, he is represented as vunerable throughout, in terms of Propps characters the boy is the victim. The boy is helped by a donor played by Bruce Willis, he is an older character who suppors the stereotype that adults are wise and children are weak.

Villain – In this film the villain is the dead people who keep appearing in the young boys life.

Victim – Here the victim is a young boy.

Paranormal Activity Trailer

Setting – filming was set in the victims house throughout whereby supernatural things are happening, similarly to the sixth sense trailer having scary things happening in your home is frightening as this is the once place people recognise as safe.

Props – as this is a film based on ‘found footage’ the main props used are the video cameras. Another prop used was an old book, this suggests that the supernatural spirit inside the house is old/ancient which is another convention of the horror genre.

Costume, hair and make-up – similarly to the Sixth Sense trailer, hair, costume and make up is very natural, this creates fear,suspense and realism as it suggests that supernatural spirits could haunt anyone of us – which is scary!

Diagetic sound – dialogue is used which includes screams, another convention used in horror films. Just like in the Sixth Sense, this trailer also has the sound of the door slam, again the volume here has been increased which emphasises that the supernatural within the house, this attemots to create fear in the audience.

Non diagetic sound – there is a chilling soundtrack that runs throughout the trailer, there are also fuzzy sounds which represent that camera jamming due to the supernatural activity, other sounds such as loud bangs and screeches are also added for emphasis and to make the trailer scary.

Sound Effects – the camera going fuzzy, this makes the audience assume something is wrong.

Voice over – 


Close up – Close up shots are used when we see the audience in the cinema, this is used to illustrate their reaction to the film and how scared they are.

Mid shots –  these shots are used when we become familiar with the characters

Long shots – a long shot is used to establish setting, this is particularly evident in the bedroom scene, the camera makes the couple in bed look smaller and vulnerable making the audience assume something bad is going to happen to them.

Tracking – this camera technique is used when the husband walks around the house with the camera, he is making the audience familiar with the surroundings.

POV – this shot is used when the victim walks towards the door and we can see she is about to open it, we are put in her position which attempts create fear in ourselves.

High Angle – 

Low Angle

Editing – the shots are cut very shot in this trailer so that we only see glimpses of certain things, this builds suspense and panic in the audience as we are taken from clip to clip very quickly.


Victim – The victims are the couple who live inside the house, they are represented as normal human beings, they are also represented as being vulnerable, this is conveyed when they are asleep in bed, the fact they are not awake makes them weak and the audience expect something to happen to them while they are in this state.

Villain – ‘the supernatural’ which we cannot see, this is frightening in itself as there is no way of knowing where ‘the evil is’ the ‘villain’ is represented by doors slamming and the movement underneath the duvet.

This trailer is very unique in terms of the style it was filmed, it also features the audience within the cinema.

Audition Trailer

Setting – the setting established at the beginning of the trailer is a dark deserted room, the girl is isolated.

Props – A significant prop used in the trailer is the syringe used by the villain who in this case is the young woman, this weapon is established through the used of a close up shot.

Costume, hair and make-up – in the beginning scenes of the trailer we see the young girl sat on the floor with her hand bowed down, her hair is draped down so the audience cannot see her face, she appears mysterious as we cannot identify her. (Barthes enigma code).


Diagetic sound – the sound of the phone repeatedly ringing in very harrowing and frightening

Non diagetic sound

Sound Effects


Close up – a close up shot of the young woman sat on the ground is used, she slowly lifts her head up, the close up shot emphasises this which makes it an eerie scene as her face is about to be revealed.

Mid shots 

Long shots 



High Angle – a high angle is used to convey the man’s pain, this shot makes him powerless to the young woman, this challenges our expectations in terms of gender representation as it is normally the man who has power over a young woman.

Low Angle

Editing – A montage of fast scenes has been used to create suspense and create a fast pace, this moves the audience from scene to scene, they are almost disorientated by this which attempts to frighten them.



Villain – 

Victim – 


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