In this poster there are only four main colours used, which are red, blue, white and black. The red represents death and blood along with the black and blue which give us a dark threatening mise en scene. The white text contrasts with the red title as white is seen as a holy colour and associated with God and innocence, whereas red is a colour of the devil and symbolises violence and evil.
The picture which we see of Katie and Micah in bed appears to be shot by themselves from a home camera, which makes us wonder and question why they are filming themselves since it is so late at night and most importantly why or what has woken them at this strange hour. The time captured in the bottom corner also makes us suspicious since it is seen as a very spiritual time where a paranormal being is most likely to strike the couple.
In the middle image of the couple, we see a shadow against the door, we don’t know whether they are aware of this shadow and also how did it get in their home, linking with the trailer, the demon appearing to have power over the two. The bedroom door is open which means we know anyone or anything can enter and possibly do so without catching Katie and Micah’s attention.
The picture captured on what we assume to be their own camcorder, is filled with dark connotations of mise en scene. We associate darkness with bad spirits who can cause harm and since there is very little colour in the poster, this makes us think Micah and Katie are definitely in danger. The shadow we can see on the door suggests that the demon already is in control and has power over the couple and makes the audience wonder what will happen.
The rhetorical question above the title ‘what happens when you sleep’ adds fear to the person looking at the poster and also suspense, as they will wonder what does happen. It is a way of building anticipation and dragging them in to go and see the movie, because it’s the only way they can find the answer to the enigma. ‘Don’t see it alone’ explains how scary the movie will be, but the audience will see this as a selling point rather than a negative thing and again will convince them to watch the movie. It will act as a challenge to horror fans.
The review used on the poster drags in the person reading it and makes them want to see it, ‘Bloody Disgusting’ a highly thought of horror film critic site, and since the review is positive, this will assure the poster audience it is definitely worth going to see. The review is a use of a superlative and another way of persuading the audience.
We see a demand campaign, an example of viral marketing where people see the poster and can go onto a website and demand to see the film in their area, this is another way of getting a large number of people to see the film and it became a selling point.
At the bottom of the poster we see no names of actors taking part in the film, as it is trying to create the illusion that the film is created by people from found footage of the event, suggesting the people in the film didn’t actually survive the paranormal haunting.
The trailer and the poster are used as advertisements to get people to go and watch the film. The trailer usually reveals as little story line as possible so that the film plot is not given away, but enough so that is looks interesting and attracts the viewer, making them want to watch more. Poster and trailer are examples of synergy because they both clearly to relate to each other and both hint at and create a narrative storyline. They also both have a film website which will act as a hub, so fans can find out information.
The trailer starts in a state of equilibrium and very bright, but the first shot of the house, which we know is where the events take place, the camera is tilted, which suggests something is already wrong. Micah, the boyfriend of Katie, comes across as quite possessive towards her, he likes control and represents Katie herself as very weak. This makes us think that throughout the film he will be in control but we are proven quite wrong. The low angle, self representation, in the mirror suggests that he is powerful and has control. This is ironical due to the ending of the film. Micah is sceptical about believing his girlfriend, which very quickly changes.
Katie is shot from a high angle by Micah, this is a way of him appearing to have power over his girlfriend. She is young, attractive, showing flesh, making her appear vulnerable and a stereotypical victim.
The shot showing Micah locking the doors and putting the alarms on suggests his and Katie’s safety inside the house, that nobody can get to them. His facial expressions we see, also make him seem at ease and not afraid, but however when we are shown up close the blinds are closed and down, this implies the couple are now being trapped inside the house and not able to get out, or escape whatever paranormal being is after them.
The cut to night approaching makes it feel dull and threating, and since we know that most things related to paranormal activity and bad spirits occur at night, rather than day, this creates more suspense for the audience. When Micah is filmed putting powder onto the floor, the camera zooms and we see him in a very small space, between the door frame, again suggesting he is trapped and that is not able to get out, implying the paranormal has power over both Micah and Katie.
There is then a dissolve, to show time passing. It is very dark and Micah and Katie are lying asleep in bed, the door is open, meaning someone or something can enter at any time, again referring to the spirit having power over the couple. There is a time code change and we see on the floor where the powder has been placed down, footsteps entering the room but no sign of them making an exit. This implies that the spirit has already entered the house without catching Micah or Katie’s attention and has no intention of leaving, until it has done so, and makes the audience curious. An interference with the camera makes the audience jump and adds to the created suspense, and we then see a recommendation review from ‘Bloody Disgusting’ a well known horror website in America, and a review here would persuade fans of the genre to go and see the film.
We then hear a voice of a paranormal investigator, suggesting things are out of hand and referring to the sense of control that is lost by both Micah and Katie, he says ‘You can’t run, it will follow you’. There is then a high angle shot of Katie in her pyjamas building an image of her being extremely vulnerable, weak and certainly a target. There is the sound of a non diegetic heartbeat, this adds suspense and is used to create a dramatically effect because it speeds up as if to reflect the sense of panic and excitement.
A number of shots show Micah researching on his computer about a similar thing that happened to another family. We see a woman on the screen pictured with some very brutal attack marks, which happen to appear on Katie in a few days to come. We see a close up of a similar mark on Katie’s leg to link the two cases. We hear Katie and Micah shouting at each other, this suggesting the paranormal to be coming between them and causing them so much stress to be nice to one another. The anger it is creating in the house, we see is having a big effect on Katie and Micah’s relationship and is causing a divide between the two. Again this relates to it having control over them.
A crescendo is heard, which builds anticipation. We see Katie in the bedroom at night crying and rocking back and forth, suggesting the demon that entered her house has taken over her. The pulse we can hear in the background appears to be getting louder, building with the fear of Katie and then suddenly it drops to silence. There is a dissolve to the bedroom at night with the couple asleep in the dark.
We then hear the wind moving the bed and then the door slams shut, which is emphasised by a quick crescendo to have an impact on the audience. We assume the demon is doing this and the power it has is emphasised with an extra loud bang. There is a cut to the empty bedroom at night and then Katie is then heard reaching out to the supernatural to leave the couple alone and then we hear a crescendo is again building up in the background. Micah is forcefully thrown into the wall by the demon, while we hear Katie still begging. The camera is knocked off and then the screen goes blank.
This is effective because the movie is supposedly based on home camera filmed footage that has been found of these ‘’real’’ life events by others and put together. The camera turning off at this point suggests we never find out what happens to Micah and Katie, which makes the audience of the trailer want to go and watch the film.
In my opinion the trailer is more effective than the poster, as it shows more of a visual image and can use sound to give a sense of fear to the audience, making them more aware of what will happen in the film compared to them reading and only looking at a poster, however an image is included on the poster, and it is possible to get a strong hint about the story and both have the website and the Demand button to link them to the viral campaign.