Wednesday, 21 March 2012

The Haunting in Connecticut Trailer Deconstruction

The teaser trailer of ‘The Haunting in Connecticut’ begins with the introduction the producers of the film. Idents for Lionsgate and Gold Circle feature exclusively in the first second of the production suggesting that it perhaps is a low production film with a main selling point of its narrative.
Immediately the first scene is establishes the location of the narrative and our starting point; a single parent family has moved to a new home. The rural setting and classic model of the only car featured implies isolation from others and therefore aid in the horror they will soon face. This is confirmed by the fact that she is a single mother; the absence of a male adult leaves them all at risk.

Instead of a voice over in the initial scenes, a conversation between the mother and a local demonstrate the suspiciousness of the situation. This is when the audience learns that the house is not as it seems and that the history of the house will lead to the disruption of the family.

A piece of particularly affective sound is featured during the first ‘scary bit’, at ten seconds one of the children steps through an old floor board. Between the moments of her breaking the board then hitting the floor there is an interesting whoosh, the trailer then cuts to black. This is paralleled in our production at around twenty-six seconds; the boom and blackout signals the sudden end of the soundtrack and the beginning of the use of the Ouija board. Both sounds show a presence of the supernatural. From this point the presence in both productions grows stronger.

From here on lighting completely changes. The environment demonstrates the mood, in the beginning there is excitement and hope of a new life, the scenes or full of warm natural light; this is sharply juxtaposed after the floorboard accident. Suddenly the light turns cold, flickering candles and a general lack of light means characters are cast in shadow. The darkness continues for the rest of the trailer to match the tone of disruption of the initial happiness the family felt.

A recurring feature throughout the production is a voiceover of key lines. The trailer dips in and out of the scenes the dialogue is from and often over laps onto other shots that demonstrate what is being said, for example the line “They held séances in this house” continues across three difference shots, an extreme close up of the main character holding photographs of a séance, the second is a character saying the dialogue, and then a variety of séance stills. This use of sound is effective because of the information is gives to the audience, some of the most interesting scenes can be seamlessly tied together.

One shot that we were interested in replicating shows a threat that the audience can see but the protagonist is currently unaware of. The unseen threat invokes helpless feelings in the viewer, the dramatic irony creates fear. The way this is done in ‘The Haunting in Connecticut is a dark reflection in a television screen; at situation that is relatable to by the viewer and is often a fear for example late at night after watching TV. Our idea was the entrance of an unknown figure through a door in the background with our main character in the foreground. Unfortunately the scene we created that was inspired by this shot failed because of the relatively poor entry level camera we used in comparison to that used to create a million dollar blockbuster.


 One shot from a séance scene of the trailer features a young man exhibiting a possession. As an known substance flows out of him mouth he makes small juddering movements possibly associated with the physical act of throwing up but also a signal of his possession. The last few second of our product feature a very similar effect with head rolling. These unnatural movements are jarring to the viewer, letting them know the supernatural is at play.

Often in films about the supernatural the spirit(s) attempt to communicate with the protagonist, more often than not as a warning of the danger they are in and of the power of the spirit and ability to cause harm. In ‘The Haunting in Connecticut’ this is done through the appearance of etching into a characters skin. Although the message cannot be identified in the short moment that is shown, both viewer and character realise the enormity to the threat posed. This visual is made more effective but the variety of shot shown of the wounds, something that we chose to replicate in our own production.


Common themes in possessive horrors are scene of attempted contact with spirits creating a feeling that actually these people brought it on themselves. Group gathering to perform this activity feature in this and our trailer and unites the characters in the taboo act.

- Meg

Also see... The Haunting in Connecticut Poster Deconstruction

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