How does closure of The Others use narrative and genre to develop audience response and meanings

The others is a psychological thriller/ horror film, the film contains the usual genre and narrative codes and conventions, to generate audience response and reinforce meaning.

The end sequence of the film, when Grace discovers what she has done uses many conventions of this genre, to create meaning.

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The first shot of the first the scene in which the camera is positioned as looking on, at a large house surrounded by mist. This immediately establishes the location to the audience, and is helped by the onscreen text signifying the time and place of the film ‘Jersey, The Channel Islands, 1945′

The house and mist gives an eerie, spooky atmosphere which is typical of films in this genre. An example is House On Haunted Hill (William Malone, 2000)

This scene also signifies isolation as the mist restricts our sight. Isolation is associated with the horror genre; Jeepers Creepers (Victor Salvor, 2001) is an example, in which two students are isolated on the roads, from civilisation.

Throughout the film there is usage of darkness, the house remains dark nearly all of the time with only dim candlelight’s’, this is a convention of this genre. The darkness reduces what the audiences can see in the mise en scene, and could suggest that there is a hidden secret hiding in the darkness. The first time darkness appears is when the servants are about to meet the children this gives a sense of unknown, as they do not know what to expect from them.

Darkness is often related to evil and things of a spiritual nature, this could signify that they are ghosts or there is a supernatural presence in the house. The darkness and the fact she keeps all the curtains shut and the doors locked could also signify that Grace is ‘hiding behind the curtains’ and ‘hiding behind closed doors’ and is in denial that she killed herself and her children. The Sixth Sense (M. Night Shyamalan, 1999) also used darkness at the end, it is set at night and Malcolm’s house is dimly lit signifying a spiritual presence.

In the end scenes of The Others the isolation is seen and understood by the audience as Mrs Mills says ‘Sometimes we will sense them, other times we won’t’ The technical codes in the last scenes also establish this sense of isolation, Grace fears for her children and is pictured alone, in a overhead shot signifying her as helpless, also as she shouts the name of her children echoes can be heard suggesting she is alone.

The end of The Others relies on sound to create an audience response and generate meaning.

When Grace has realised what she has done, violins and slow, low instruments are used creating a sense of sadness and empathy for Grace as we realise she is remorse and in denial about what happened, she is also seen clutching her crucifix praying for hope that she did not kill her children, the crucifix drops to the floor symbolising that truths have been realised, this is similar to that of The Sixth Sense when Crowe realises he is dead his wife drops the wedding ring. The techniques used ensure that the audience hear these sounds, as they are significant changes in the film, different from what the audience expected. It also creates an intense and disturbing atmosphere.

At the end the audience realise Grace and her children are ghosts along with the servants they have been fooled into thinking ghosts live in Graces house when it was the reverse order. This is the ‘twist’ in the film, twists are usual conventions in horror genres and are usually a completely opposite resolution to than how the audience had predicted the narrative closure, the audience are given pleasure from this as they like to predict how a film, especially of this genre, will end, it also increases the entertainment value as they will want to wonder how they were fooled, this is also likely to make them purchase it so they can watch it again. As the audience discover that Grace and the children have been dead for the whole of the film, Grace also discovers this meaning our point of view was restricted to enable this twist, we wasn’t shown her killing her children or any other background information, only by Grace herself informing the servants.

The twist may encourage the audience to re watch the film out of curiosity of how they could not have possibly known they were ghosts, looking for hints to indicate this. There are lots of clues which indicate they are ghosts, examples are, Grace walking through the misty woods, seen to be white and shivery signifies that there is could be presence of a ghost, the white mist is also associated with the supernatural.

Also when the children breathe loud and heavily when they are scared or angry, Grace says “stop breathing” which could signify the fact she stopped them breathing using a pillow.

To conclude, the closure of The Others uses sound and also narrative by restricting the audience, creating a twist to create meanings and responses from the audience.