Tanika Singh

Analysis of Opening Sequence: Thriller
Case 39
In the opening scene of the thriller film ‘Case 39’, generic codes and
conventions of the thriller genre can be easily identified. The film
opens in a house with low-key lighting, which creates creepy
atmosphere. Diegetic sounds of footsteps on the stairs and a door
creaking can be heard. This creates a tense atmosphere, which
already makes the audience feel on edge. Non-Diegetic score music
begins to play. The score music consists of high-pitched tones and
violins, which creates an eerie atmosphere. The score music reaches
a climax and the scene cuts to a young girl sleeping in her bed who
is being watched by a man and a woman – possibly her parents. The
man and woman look at each other as close-ups reveal their
frightened faces. A medium shot shows that they are hidden behind
a door as they watch the girl. A close up shot shows that they both
look uneasy. This suggests that the girl is a danger and will later
cause a disruption – which is a typical convention of a thriller film.
Diegetic dialogue is used as the girl suddenly opens her eyes and
says, “I can see you”. The two adults quickly look at each other in
shock and slam the door. This further implies that the young child is
a danger due to their reactions. Once the two adults leave, a spinechilling smile appears on the young girls face. This suggests that she
is up to no good and will later cause a problem. This is a generic
code and convention of a thriller genre as an enigma is created –
leaving the audience thinking about what the little girl will do and
what she is capable of.
In the next scene, the two adults are shown in low-key lighting,
running down to their basement. As the lighting is low-key, a
mysterious atmosphere is created. The diegetic sounds of footsteps
quickly running down the stairs are heard. A close up shot of each of
their faces reveal a frightened and panicky look. The diegetic sound
and close up shot suggests that the adults are somewhat trying to
escape from or get rid of the little girl. This is a typical code and
convention of a thriller film as a chase is often used in the thriller
genre. A long shot is then used to show what the two adults are
doing in the basement. The shot shows the couple digging a hole
that has already been dug into. Medium shots are used to show the
sweat and tears that are running down both of the adult’s faces –

Tanika Singh

suggesting that they are scared of what they are doing. This creates
another enigma as the audience are left thinking about what the
hole is for and why the couple is in such a hurry to dig it.

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