Using Juxtaposition and Suggestion For Thrilling Horror Movies

The art of filmmaking requires not just an extensive knowledge of previous films made in the industry and in various genres, camera work, directorship, screenwriting, and designing the proper setting and costumes for characters. Filmmaking will also require a creative and skillful talent of producing narratives in the aspect of storytelling and meaning-making.

Thrillers and horror movies are particular genres of filmmaking that requires special techniques to achieve the right kind of cinematography and mental and emotional response from the audience. Two of these techniques is the art of suggestion and juxtaposition.

Suggestions in Thrillers and Horror Movies

A proposal can be defined in many ways. Commonly, it means a plan or an idea that a person puts forward for consideration. Although when it comes to film, a more psychological definition is more useful. In this field, a suggestion is a process by which one person guides another person’s behavior, thoughts, or feelings. This process can be used by filmmakers to make a promising and very effective thriller or horror film.

The technique is laid out in the principle of not laying everything out for the audience. The smallest scenes, gesture, facial expression, or word from a character or episode in the film can send the audience’s mind reeling with possible inferences and interpretation of the film. An example would be a tense scene of confrontation between the hero of the story and the unmasked villain. A simple flashback or a frame depicting the real inner thoughts or emotions of the unmasked antagonist can reveal a great deal of information and detail for the audience.

Using the Juxtaposition Technique

Another filmmaking technique used in the film genres of horror and thriller is a juxtaposition. It is a film editing technique where two or more shots are combined in order to reveal to the audience a particular idea or a state of mind of a character. Montages, or a series of images presented in the film, is an excellent example of the juxtaposition technique. 

There are many reasons why thrillers and horror films need to make use of juxtaposition in the construction of the film. For one, juxtaposition is very useful in highlighting concepts that could not be easily seen, such as hunger, grief, or bloodlust. A shot of the protagonist grieving could be shown side-by-side a graveyard or wedding ring, depending on the narrative.

The juxtaposition technique is also excellent in building fear, thrill, or suspense, which is generally the essence of horror and thriller film genres. Just think of classic horror scenes in many classic movies. Picture a young couple spending a romantic moment watching a movie on the couch in the living room and juxtapose this to frames showing the killer or another sense of danger approaching. These kinds of scenes put together, more than being iconic, will produce and build up fear and suspense.

Juxtaposed scenes in a movie could also be symbolic. A great example would be the timeless 1972 film, The Godfather which stars Al Pacino as Michael Corleone. An episode of the film portrays Corleone attending a nephew’s christening where he is appointed as the child’s godfather. This is juxtaposed with his men killing his enemies. It poses in the audience’s mind the question the true, and perhaps ironic, nature of the Pacino’s character.