Spooked: Implicit meaning – Week 6

After Yuanyuan’s lecture on film form, one of the techniques discussed on creating expectations, parallel editing, gave us an idea for our creepy animation.

We could show two parallel stories of a “victim” and a “monster” but when the stories join up – we create an incorrect expectation as the “victim” and “monster” swap roles. So the monster is actually the victim. By using this we could play around with the shock factor. Méabh and I compared movies we knew that defied expectations and Tucker and Dale Vs Evil Is a great example of parallel narratives that came up. 

After a brainstorming session, my team decided on a category for our animation quite early on: a simple sci-fi thats dark and creepy.

Unfortunately, post-it notes were harmed during this session

Our next step was to decide on the implicit meaning. We tackled this by researching into movies that were relevant to our category.

I love J.J. Abrams’ films so looked into the implicit meanings of a few of his films.

  • Star Trek (2009) – Friendship and destiny. How the two legendary characters are destined to be friends, even in a parallel timeline.
  • Star Trek: Into Darkness (2013) – How far will we run from our values to exact revenge?
  • Super 8 (2011) – Resistance to authority and intergalactic comparison.

Who else does creepy as well as M. night Shyamalan?

  • The Sixth Sense (1999) – Unfinished business. A list of more themes.
  • The Village (2004) – Us vs them, what they don’t know can’t hurt them, ignorance is bliss.
  • The Happening (2008) – Anti-evolutionary theory of intelligent design.
  • After Earth (2013) – Fatherhood, fear and responsibility.

Méabh found this super interesting video on hidden meanings within movies:

Some classic science fiction themes. Ones that stood out to me were the destiny of humanity, identity, memory, global warming (dystopias), mass surveillance and growing populations.

Themes within thrillers such as revenge, obsession, mystery, paranoia, terrorism, pursuit, false accusations/identity, conspiracy, crime and supernatural motifs.

Some of my favourite themes: Ambition getting the better of you; The fear of foreigners, of not escaping the daily routine, of having no control over a situation; The struggle of memory loss as we get older; The importance of having our own identity and isolation (invisibility).

Current world affairs; terrorism (enemies among us?), nuclear threat and economic debt. Mother Nature, etc etc.

The 10 most common themes in film and literature are apparently:

  • Man Vs Nature: mother nature, perseverance of mankind, technology’s perversion of nature.
  • Man Vs Himself: emotions, internal struggle, addictions.
  • Loss of Innocence: childhood.
  • Revenge: motivation.
  • Death: mystery, implications, afterlife.
  • Battle: Us Vs them, neutral vs neutral.
  • Individual Vs Society: sacrifice, against authority, resistance.
  • Triumph over Adversity: perseverance of human spirit.
  • Love: strongest force.
  • Good Vs Evil: polar opposites, contrast.

So combining a few of the themes together to come up with a possible implicit meanings for our short animation…

Mass surveillance and Growing Old

Our animation could be shots of looking through different cameras (phones, CCTV) at this one character and every time we look through a new camera, our character has gotten older.

Growing Populations and Identity

The number of characters is rapidly growing and our main protagonist in constantly changing to stand out from the crowd.

We want to make our film feel dark and creepy so we are going to have to persuade our audience that what they are watching is making them afraid or uneasy but is also captivating.


After reading Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini, at Conáan’s suggestion, I found that the key to convincing our audience is consistency (maybe subliminal messages throughout our 30 second short might be worth looking into?), reciprocity, conformity (our character could be creeped out at events unfolding around him), authority (could our antagonist represent an authority figure?), liking (create a rapport between the character and the audience) and scarcity (how do we make the audience feel that this creepy film is directed at them? Or could we base the story on something rare – myths, phenomena’s).

This is our presentation of our ideas for the film.




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