When faced with the task of remixing a video trailer, I chose to turn Step Brothers (Adam McKay, 2008) into a horror film, with the new title of Dave. Whereas the original movie is a comedy about two middle aged men who live at home and suddenly become stepbrothers, the recut video I have created tells a different story. In Stepbrothers, Dave is a full grown adult with child-like behaviorisms, however, his new step brother Brennan is actually just as childish and immature as he is. In my recut, I include only scenes that portray Dave as a violent psychopath, and Brennan as a normal human who has suddenly fallen into the misfortune of being terrorized by his new step brother. In order to appropriately portray the film as a horror movie, multiple techniques were employed in order to fulfill the requirements of the horror genre.
Genre, or “type” of film can be defined through various cues that the audience picks up on. Naturally, one of the first tasks was to define the “killer” or monster of the story. As Greg Smith comments on Noel Carroll’s definition of the horror genre, there must be a “threatening, impure, supernatural monster.” Though he comments that this definition is a bit subjective, this component of a horror film is often placed at the center of the genre’s criteria. In order to conjure Dave as this type of character, the scenes included in the trailer are restricted to those of his strangest and angriest moments in the original film. In addition to this, he poses multiple threats to his brother, Brennan throughout the trailer. To add a supernatural feel to Dave’s role, he is portrayed as being buried alive and coming back from the dead.
Another method of horror involves the emphasized use of close-up shots during editing. The trailer utilizes multiple close up shots of Dave’s face that invoke a sense of horror and thrilling suspense. “The close up can reveal a particular emotion that the long shot might not capture,” states Bernard Dick. This type of shot is capable of creating the atmosphere and attitude towards a certain character. In this case, the audience is meant to feel that Dave is abnormal and holds violent intentions, which is expressed in close up shots of his grimacing face as well as close up shots of him eating various foods in a threatening way.
Another valuable technique used in the trailer is the concept of rhythm, or speed, movement, and pace. Bernard Dick talks about how the best editors vary rhythm, therefore not having a uniform pace by which the film moves at a constant rate. The trailer for Dave includes multiple rhythm changes, where as it starts out slow in order to set an eerie tone and lay the base of the setting before building up to a fast-pace sequence of actions and events that occur at a much faster pace. The film then slows back down as the trailer enters into a darker night scene of a body being dragged, but speeds up just at the end just in time catch the audience off guard. The use of a strobe effect during the fast-paced scenes serves to catalyze the speed of the scenes and make them appear more unpredictable and action-filled. The soundtrack of the trailer matches the pace of the images that move across the screen, in order to further emphasize the rhythm.
The creation of this trailer proved to be very fun and utilized a bundle of creativity. Though clipping each individual scene from a full movie could be a tiny bit tedious, the end product definitely shows a change in genre and marks appreciation for the different techniques that film editors must take into account when trying to satisfy the expectations that the audience has for a certain genre. The most difficult part of the assignment would have to be the proper insertion of audio clips, including soundtrack as well as voice dialogue. There were a few instances when the content of a certain dialogue would be appropriate for a voice overly, but the tone of the original clip just did not mesh with the atmosphere of the horror genre. In addition to this issue, finding audio clips that were the right duration for a certain scene also proved to be a bit tricky. Overall, I am happy with the finished product, and had a great experience learning about the different tools that Adobe Premiere has to offer in the world of film editing.
Dick, B. F. (1990). Anatomy of film. St. Martin’s Press.
Smith, G. (2010). What media classes really want to discuss: a student guide. Routledge.