Psychological Thrillers Narrative Analysis

1390 Words 6 Pages
‘How do the features of a restricted narrative build suspense for the audience in Psychological Thriller films?’
I will be analysing the narrative structure of Psychological Thrillers, as well as the ideologies that distinguish thriller films from suspense films; by completing this research, I will gain an understanding of how texts are constructed in this genre to be effective at producing suspense throughout the narrative. The research I will be conducting will be referencing two films belonging to the Psychological Thriller genre: Se7en (1995, David Fincher), and Memento (2000, Christopher Nolan). I have chosen these two films because they are both constructed utilising restricted narratives, but the strategies involved in achieving that differentiates greatly.
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Hitchcock describes that shock ensues the audience when their knowledge is restricted, due to often not having the full story exposed to them. However, once the ‘twist’ occurs, the surprise to the audience provides a far greater response, as the anticipation of the twist is what draws the audience into the story.
The narrative of Se7en follows the classic linear structure, this is done because the theme of the film consists of the seven deadly sins. By following this structure, the film conforms to the conventions of Todorov’s Narrative Theory, as from the beginning, the audience is informed that Somerset is retiring in seven days; the audience is expected to know that there are seven deadly sins. The structure of the narrative is built by these seven days; thus, the utilisation of an on-screen title informs the audience of each day that passes in the narrative. For the duration of the film, the audience perspective is always through the main protagonists, but the audience never experiences the viewpoint of the killer. The restricted narrative device serves two purposes. The first being it creates suspense for the audience, as the information of the murders is withheld from the viewer. Secondly,

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