Cinematography is More Than Entertainment

For this assignment, I had to watch a horror movie and find elements of emotion in stills from the movie. I decided to watch The Ring because it was the first horror movie I ever saw and thought it would be easier to dissect it since I have seen it many times. I also wanted to watch it because I suggested that we use this movie in our class at the beginning of the semester because it is an excellent horror film.

I chose the scene when Rachel is watching a video about Samara Morgan, the deceased girl who kills anyone that watches the tape, when she was in a mental hospital. I liked this scene because there is a lighthouse that shines through the window behind Rachel and illuminates the background about once every minute.

Here is when the background is shown and the lighthouse is pointed away from the house.

The Ring 1

Here is when the background is illuminated and the old man, whose house Rachel is in, appears in the background.

The Ring 2

I like this scene because it incorporates a few different elements all in one scene. There is, of course, lighting in this scene with the moments of darkness in the background contrasted with the moments of light. This scene also plays a lot with foreground and background. For all of the moments that the old man is not in the background the focus is on Rachel in the foreground but once the old man appears in the background, the focus shifts to him and the rest of the background. This shift in focus is meant to surprise the audience when the old man appears. This scene also incorporates the use of moment. The old man is absent for most of the scene but appears at the right moment in the scene, right before he attacks Rachel. This evokes fear in the audience and the uncertainty of his motives leaves the audience wondering what will happen to Rachel.

I also chose the cursed video from this movie for multiple reasons.

This video was shot in black and white whereas the rest of the movie is in color, therefore it provides a lot of contrast due to the lack of use of color. I also noticed that the perspective changes a lot in the video. Most of the video is shot at normal head height but some scenes are shot looking down at the subject. This makes the viewer feel as though they are actually looking down on the subject.

This last still is from the scene when Rachel is out on her balcony watching others living near her live their lives as if nothing bad could ever happen, when she knows she is going to die soon.

The Ring 8

I like this particular still because the camera panned from window to window but stopped on this one for a second or two before it kept panning over. This still has balance. The two uninhabited apartments are diagonal from each other. However, the two inhabited apartments are also diagonal from each other. This creates balance which promotes calmness in the viewer, just as Rachel wants to feel. I also like this still because it uses framing. The frames around the windows lead the eye in towards what is inside each window. This effect also helps with balancing the still.

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