• The syntactic approach is a group of generic events that are associated with different genres.
These events are familiar pleasures for audiences watching the film as they will associate the
events with the genre and will be anticipating them throughout the film. In horror films there
are many syntactic generic events that occur, usually in the same order in most horror films.
• The syntactic events normally start by introducing the main protagonist, final girl and group
of people (usually teenagers or families) who are going to be terrorized throughout the film.
• Then there will normally be a death and some other forms of terror that will throw the film
into disequilibrium and the main antagonist will be introduced, numerous more deaths or
threats will occur which normally include chase sequences and the protagonists trying to get
rid of the antagonist.
• The film will then usually end with new equilibrium being restored and the antagonist killed,
avenging the death of all the innocent people killed, or the antagonist is arrested. The main
protagonist then usually lives as does the final girl.
• In the trailer however (I know what you did last summer) the usual syntactic events take
place, but not in the normal chronological order, for instance the trailer starts with a scary
story being told, describing most of what usually happens in a horror film, then the trailer
goes onto show the group of teenagers being terrorized with usual chase scenes and
• The trailer doesn’t show the antagonists identity or the films conclusion as this would spoil
• The semantic approach focus on the different elements used in order to
create a successful trailer. These are: location, costume, lighting, body
language, editing, transitions, pace, actors, props and sounds.
• The semantic conventions normally used in the horror/thriller genre are
locations such as old abandoned houses, asylums, hospitals, streets and
usually busy places. The lighting is normally dark, and often the horror takes
place at night so a lot of the lighting used are artificial and often exaggerated
to create shadows and dark colours with signifiers of danger and death.
• Sound is usually heightened, diegetic sound such as breathing being
heightened during a chase sequence.
• Non diegetic music used would be low stringed, low pitched music that
would intensify as the horror was about to take place.
• Props used are normally weapons that will be used to create horror, religious
symbols and symbols of supernatural.
• The pace of horror films is usually slow, unless disequilibrium is occurring, such
as a chase sequence which is where the pace would pick up and quicken to
create anticipation and intensity.