The sequence I am analysing begins when the two protagonists (Seline and Michael) spot the evil vampire Marcus rapidly approaching the truck. As he lands on the back of the truck a fight breaks out between him and Michael. Marcus is temporarily defeated. That is when Seline and Michael escape to a near by barn as the sun appears. I will be commenting on the audience’s emotion of tension and excitement in this sequence and analysing how they are created by the micro elements sound, cinematography and mise-en-scene.
When the evil vampire, Marcus, is spotted drastic non-diegetic sound is played to provide a heightened feeling of tension which places the audience on the edge of their seat at the fight takes place. Also, when first contact is made between Marcus and Michael a tracking shot is used to show the speed and power of Marcus as Michael is speared into the lorry. The camera movement integrates the viewer and emphasises the force of the impact telling them that this will be a brutal confrontation.
They are often centre frame to emphasise the importance of their fight to the audience. A point of view shot from both fighters is then taken showing they are on the same level at this point in the battle. A close up is used to show their faces, highlighting the aggression, integrating us with the action. Suddenly there is gunfire when Seline turns around and shoots at Marcus. At this point the editing lowers in pace at punches are thrown by Michael and Marcus.
The diegetic sound of chains and the connection of the punches make the scene seem brutal and violent and leaves the audience wondering who will win and, encouraging sympathy for the good guy following a series of sound created by each fighter being slammed off the wood and chains. The sound of the lorry scraping across the side of the mountain encourages the audience mot to look away for a split second. The use of this heightened diegetic sound effect indicates something bog is happening and there is more action to unfold.
A medium close up is taken of the wheels of the lorry to show that there is desperation to get away from Marcus and that there is a sense of chaos and speed. This is heightened by the over powering diegetic sound effect of the lorry travelling at speed along the mountain side. The roar of the engine tells the audience that Seline is driving as fast so she can to escape. At this point in the movie the non diegetic music is at a fast pace and generally upbeat, this helps to create a feeling of urgency and panic, whilst implying that the action is mounting up to a large finale of the scene.
Quite frequently the music slows down and becomes more mellow and less urgent, this pulls at the audiences emotions as they can sense something is about to happen but it is just a matter of time, the music track then instantly creates fear when it becomes more fast paced again making the audience jump. Using the micro element in this way disorientates the audience keeping them on the edge of their seat throughout. After Marcus is defeated, Michael becomes higher in the frame signifying his victory, but suggesting to the viewer that the danger has passes. A close up of Selines hand shows that the sun is damaging her as she is a vampire.
This shows the urgency to get out of the sun. This feeling is supported by the fast pace of the music once again in the background as they move quickly in a state of panic to a nearby barn. Another aspect that will heighten the effect on the audience is the lighting. Lighting is used in different parts of this sequence to set the mood. The fight is not in total darkness but there is a use of low key lighting. This, therefore makes the mood serious yet adds a sinister tone to it, setting an element of evil. But once the fight scene concludes and Marcus has been fought off the sun rises and bright light is shone upon Seline and Michael.
In many cases this is a symbol of hope and other pleasant emotions; however for a vampire it causes havoc and destruction. A medium close shot of Seline’s hand is taken as she drives away and you can see that they are burning. The heightened diegetic sound of the burning makes the audience realise the increasing danger she has to get out of the sunlight. When they reach the barn it is a race to block out the sunlight. This shows us that what we think is dark and unpleasant is in fact a sign of comfort and protection in this film, reversing our expectations of the film.
Directors use sound, cinematography and mise-en-scene, among various other things to make the film fit its particular style and genre. For example, action, the main genre within Underworld Evolution. It is important with this style of genre to keep the audience on the edge of their seats and keep them wanting more, for example the tension and excitement in this film is made by the certain camera shots and sounds as well as the lightning. Over all in this scene of the film sound, mise-en scene and cinematography have a large effect on the mood of the film.
In the beginning of the scene non-diegetic sounds are used to create a heightened sense of urgency and fear, this is also relayed in the fast paced tracking shot to show the speed and power of the fight that is taking place. Throughout the punches, the violence and speed of the music heightens and lowers, keeping the audience on the edge of their seats which is perfect for the genre of the film. The lighting and camera choices throughout the scene are important as it is vital that the audience are entertained and do not find the action too predictable.
Low lighting helps to make the scene seem more sinister, whilst allowing the audience to view all of the action, the reversible effect of bright light being shone on Seline and Michael as a symbol of fear rather than of hope also engrosses the audience to watch and feel a sense that the two ‘so’ called heroes may be doomed from the beginning. As you can see throughout this scene the mise-en-scene creates the required mood for the genre of film using different cinematography techniques including lighting and sound.
- Underworld: Evolution – Wikipedia
- Underworld: Evolution (2006) – Full Cast & Crew – IMDb
- Underworld: Evolution Reviews – Metacritic