The Gothic conventions in the Amytiville

Essay by chagtchUniversity, Bachelor'sA, November 2014

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The Gothic genre has undoubtedly been mutating through the centuries since its creation. Nevertheless, there are obviously still fundamental conventions of Gothic to be found in post modernist Gothic, to which belong this movie. The Amityville (2005) is a Gothic horror movie adaptated from a novel by Jay Anson. The movie makes use of the Gothic conventions in order to create a dreadful atmosphere so as to pass a message on to the audience, namely the call for help of a mid seventies despairing American nation.

I) Gothic technical conventions

First and foremost, from a technical point of view, all the film codes of the genre are assembled so as to provide a gloomy Gothic atmosphere. Indeed we, as viewers, can tell right away that something is unusual. Evidence for this is provided at the beginning of the scene, by the low-angle view of the house as the characters are entering it.

What is intended through the use of low angle shots is mainly transmit a feeling of fear, and insecurity. As a result, the house appears both threatening and frightening, the point of view giving it a supernatural aura. Then, the following shot is taken from the very end of the entrance hall while the door, which acts as a point of transgression from one sphere into another, is opened. While the inside of the house is dark and gloomy, the sun is brightly shining outside. This metaphor may symbolize the dualistic contrast between good and evil, characteristic of Gothic conventions. Indeed, in this respect, this idea stands at the heart of Gothic concerns, regarding this polarity as a fundamental feature of human condition . Another relevant illustration of the dark tone of the sequence could be the second low-angle shot of the house, once the characters have entered...