The Gothic Conventions In The Amytiville

1899 words - 8 pages

The Gothic genre has undoubtedly been mutating through the centuries since its creation. Nevertheless, there are obviously still fundamental conventions of Gothic to be found in post modernist Gothic, to which belong this movie. The Amityville (2005) is a Gothic horror movie adaptated from a novel by Jay Anson. The movie makes use of the Gothic conventions in order to create a dreadful atmosphere so as to pass a message on to the audience, namely the call for help of a mid seventies despairing American nation.I) Gothic technical conventionsFirst and foremost, from a technical point of view, all the film codes of the genre are assembled so as to provide a gloomy Gothic atmosphere. Indeed we, as viewers, can tell right away that something is unusual. Evidence for this is provided at the beginning of the scene, by the low-angle view of the house as the characters are entering it. What is intended through the use of low angle shots is mainly transmit a feeling of fear, and insecurity. As a result, the house appears both threatening and frightening, the point of view giving it a supernatural aura. Then, the following shot is taken from the very end of the entrance hall while the door, which acts as a point of transgression from one sphere into another, is opened. While the inside of the house is dark and gloomy, the sun is brightly shining outside. This metaphor may symbolize the dualistic contrast between good and evil, characteristic of Gothic conventions. Indeed, in this respect, this idea stands at the heart of Gothic concerns, regarding this polarity as a fundamental feature of human condition . Another relevant illustration of the dark tone of the sequence could be the second low-angle shot of the house, once the characters have entered it. This technical choice endeavours to make the threat clear, as it exposes an imposing and labyrinthine house. Besides, we can also see that the place seems to be meandering and unwelcoming in the following scene. Indeed, the characters are filmed from rooms on either side of the corridor, so that the audience can be aware of how huge the house is, and also aware of the secrets it keeps. On top of that, slow tracking shots -commonly listed among the film codes bringing about the suspense- are employed, as if the family was being observed without knowing it. What is more, when they enter the living room, a close up is made on the ceiling, wherefrom a blackish stain is running down the walls. It is generally accepted that close ups stand for dramatic effects, hence their scary connotation. Moreover, the colours are extremely cold, accordingly stressing the spooky atmosphere of the house. Indeed, we are witnessing a mid-to-dark-tone, on second thoughts typical of Gothic paintings, consequently adding more weight to this already heavy and scary ambiance. Eventually, the last scenes don't leave any room for doubt anymore when a shadow appears on the wall. This constitutes a tangible evidence of supernatural...

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