Amityville Horror – Analysis of opening sequence

Characters and their RepresentationsThe main character to be decided to be called is Ronald Defeo. To start with there are lots of blurred shots of his face, then a clear close up on his eyes which have the reflection of a television screen and a blank look.

The next shot you see of him is when he turns to look at the clock when it flicks to 3:15. His facial expressions are of slight disgust and hate; this allows the audience to see that something bad is going to happen, most probably caused by the man.Locations + Mise-en-sceneThe location is a room. The room looks dirty due to the use of darkness, so maybe a more dull part of the builing, such as a basement. There are typical props that you would expect to be in a room, for example there is a bed that the man is sitting on, a television, a table with a clock and an ashtray. At one point the television creates a bright light that illuminates the whole room, showing you what is inside.

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There are clearly visible stairs at the very back of the shot, lots of brick and a curtain which seems to be dividing the room. The stairs signify that the room must be quite low down in the house, therefore makes it believable to be the basement. Further into the opening sequence you see that the location is a very large detached house. There are a lot of family photos around the house, casually showing the importance of this man’s family before the killings. After the murder is committed, there is a clarifying shot of the house which shows just how big it is.

The shot zooms out slowly, making the house appear bigger and bigger as if it plays a very big role in the film.LightingLighting in the film is used extremely effectively, the bright flashes from the lightning and the natural lighting adds to the horrific actions that are taking place. The darkness used on the shot of the house conveys a frightening atmosphere. This all contributes to the fear and anxiety the audience will be feeling, the lighting always is always a major contributor in horror films.Cinematography in the opening sequence is very important because the location and characters need to be established as soon as possible in the film. The shots used allow the first-established character to show his crazy side, with the extreme close ups and low angle shots to show his dominance.

Editing and soundThere is good use of the continuity effect match on action, it is used throughout the period of time when Ronnie is moving from room to room killing people (and throughout the opening sequence generally). Another continuity editing rule used is eye line match. It’s used so the audience can see what the character is looking at; this is used with the character looking at the clock, the people in the house and the television.In my opinion, sound is the most important aspect of a horror movie. If experimented and found out that if you were to place your hands over your ear, during a horror movie when the sound being used wa very tense, then it would make the film seem much less frightening and scary.

With the fast paced edits, the sound accompanying the visual always matches with what you’re looking at, for example the sound of the storm the lightening flashes on screen are visible, making the sound almost all digetic. Non-diagetic sound is only a quiet, eerie and tension building sound which is conventional for horror films.