The Horror Genre

Short Film

·      Describe key elements of the short film (use film language as much as possible)

In a short film, characters are one of the essential elements. We should determine the point of view by deciding who to be the protagonist and antagonist. Characters should have their goals to achieve in the film which basically creates the theme of the whole project. The theme is one basic word that can sum up the whole project which is ideas and morals in the film. In the storyline of the film, there should be; excitements engaging the audience by describing something different from the normal day; climax resulting in the biggest or the most important event in the film that sometimes creates change in the relationship between the characters; resolution expressing the main theme with the ending at the end.


Horror Film

  1. Jumpscare: Jumpscare is the technique that is commonly used by horror directors. They often create silence and suddenly give loud sounds or actions to surprise you. Silence creates tension but the sudden sounds and actions break that tension to dramatize the surprise.
  2. Gore: Gore is associated with blood. Some films heavily rely on blood and violence to scare the audience.
  3. Found footage: Horror films often use found footage technique to put the audience into the perspective of the main characters. Found footage does not take smooth shots and then leads to an unpredictable shock to the audience.
  4. Underexpose: The absence of light makes underexposed condition, the obvious technique that the horror directors use. As the audience could not clearly see the settings and the conditions in the film, it creates tension.
  5. Use haze: Haze makes the film create a variety of textures in the scenes. It leads to the mysterious and unique mood to the scene and also have same impact that the underexpose gives to the audience.
  6. Colored lights: Specific color of light evoke particular emotion. For example, red lights make the audience to be unnerved and embarrassed. Natural lights will make you less suspenseful and even lose tension in the scene compared to the use of specific lights.
  7. Dutch tilt: The camera angle being slightly tilted makes the film unique and creates an unsettling feeling to the audience.
  8. Uplighting: In order to create an unnatural-looking shadow, we can set the light under the character’s face. This makes the character’s facial expression to be exaggerated, maximizing the suspenseful or grotesque situation.
  9. Backlighting: Creating silhouette by setting the light behind the characters makes the audience to be curious about that specific character’s feature.
  10. Spotlighting: It is the common investigatory point of view by using flashlights to spot a certain object to emphasize its importance or to clarify its obscureness.
  11. Nonlinear sounds: By using unnatural sounds such as people screaming and distressed animals create suspense and make the audience to be fully engaged in the film.
  12. Infrasounds: Infrared sound is one that exists at 19 Hz or any lower frequency that could not be heard by humans but can be felt by the body. This makes the film spooky without any visible effect.



We often expect scary creatures in the horror film to be surprised. Sometimes in horror films, there are many expectations that are common in horror films such as jumpscare and nonlinear sounds. I think it is obvious to expect underexposed conditions, jumpscare, core, and nonlinear sounds in horror films.


Classic Horror Film Techniques

Cinematography Tips For Horror Filmmakers


Horror In Context

I believe that culture and historical setting impact how we view and react to horror films. Depends on the audience that the horror film directors targeted, the whole context might be different and the point that director aimed to surprise the audience might also be different. For example, the Korean horror movies “Shadows in the Palace” and “Kingdom” is based on the Joseon era which movie directors targeted the audience of people who have basic knowledge about the history of Korea. As a Korean, I can deeply understand the context of the film which makes me be engaged in the horror film and even feel more scared than others do.

Inspiration for my film

Rather than directly surprising the audience, I might use much of time creating tension for the climax.  Without any obvious features such as haze, gore,  and jumpscare, I would like to create tension by using specific sounds and a variety of colors by adjusting the white balance. Using underexposed conditions with an extreme close up to the face or other objects will help me to make a horror film.