Let’s take a look at this scary movie clip from the Japanese supernatural horror film, Ju-on: The Grudge. Notice how it’s about a full 2 minutes of build up before it gets to the scary woman coming out of the sheets. While watching the scene, take notes on what is actually being filmed during those 2 minutes. What is the actor doing? How is the camera moving around in the scene?
All of these things affect how you as the viewer feel in building up that tension and feeling of what-is-going-to-happen.
Add a release
After building tension with your audience, when the scary thing finally happens, you give your audience a release. Sometimes it’s in the form of a scream or a jump or an emotional resolution.
How did you feel when the woman popped out of the sheets? Make sure you build in a release for your audience after building that tension.
Layer in sound effects and music
Watch the scene above again, and pay attention to the music and sound effects in the background. Try listening to it with the sound off. What a difference, right? (If you’re like me, and can’t stand scary movies, I always find myself covering my ears during the suspenseful parts, because blocking out the sound makes it so much more bearable).
What are all the sound that you hear in this scene? How fast and slow is the sound in different parts? How soft or loud?
Try searching for these terms in WeVideo Essentials audio library to add to your scary movie!
“Scary” “Ghost” “Spooky” “Haunted” “Creepy” “Mystery” “Scream”
Searching for audio in the WeVideo Essentials Library
Change the colors
Sometimes just changing the colors makes a big difference. Check out these fantastic student WeVideo filmmakers and their evocative piece, Restless Spirits. Notice how the colors they use affect the feel of their piece. This is also a good example of the use of imagery, music, and suspense, to create that spooky feel.
Look for evocative imagery in the WeVideo Essentials image library. Try searching for words like
“Full moon” or “Eerie” – you’ll find video clips from abandoned buildings to misty forests to underwater graves…
Putting it all together
Don’t believe that these elements can make a video spooky? Check out WeVideo teacher, Matthew Miller at Cairo American College in Egypt and his assignment of swapping the genre of an original piece of film. In the assignment, you can take something that was a comedy, drama, or even a children’s show, and turn it into something scary. Check out one of the student creations, “If Teletubbies were Horror.”
What are other elements that make a video scary, creepy, or suspenseful? How do you get your audience’s skin to crawl, jump from fright, or feel that lingering terror where you can’t go to the bathroom on your own for a couple of days? Share what you’ve tried in the comments!