Here is a video response covering some initial points upon reflection answering the question, displayed below.
My media product represents particular social groups through features such as age, gender, power, subculture, characterisation, social status and stereotyping. We wanted to keep the style of our product consistent to create verisimilitude, to achieve this we had to attain the correct representation of the social group all the way through the film.
The main representation in our media was the power and dominance struggles between the antagonist and the victim. Our media product represents the social, physical and mental contrast between the characters of a murderer and his victim, through use of gender. We used the stereotypical and very old viewpoint that ‘women are inferior to men’ which was shown through multiple high angled camera shots in films such as ‘Titanic’ and ‘Mr & Mrs Smith’. We used these shots to show the contrast between power and gender in our own opening sequence. The male antagonist is shown through low angled shots looking up to him and high angled point of view shots from the victim’s perspective. Both shots allow the audience to view the antagonist as the more powerful character as he appears physically bigger, and this creates the illusion that we have to look ‘up’ to him – as though he holds the authority in the context. These types of shots were seen in the opening sequence to the film Dirty Harry when the antagonist looks down onto his female victim. We developed this idea and used these conventions in our own work to portray this particular social group.
The female victims are portrayed through high angled shots looking down onto them. These display the females as inferior in terms of power and dominance representation, as the audience has to look ‘down’ upon them as though they are the smaller person in the context. This works in combination with the low angled shots on the antagonist to differentiate between the most powerful character in this particular social group. These shots demonstrate the victim’s vulnerability in the situation, causing the audience to fear for her safety therefore causing further anxiety for them making them want to continue watching.
The male character the (murderer) is portrayed through mise en scene such as dark lighting across half of his face to conceal his identity as well as giving him a dark and mysterious edge, thus implying he is from a more isolated social group. Not only does this dark lighting play a huge part in the shed scenes where he is flicking through the pages of his scrap book, but also his choice of costume.
In terms of mise en scene, the characters costume and appearance helps to differentiate their social groups. The antagonist wears a striking mask to conceal his identity – this combined with the use of dark lighting helps to portray the fact he is an antagonist, from an isolated social group and perhaps capable of committing crimes.
On the other hand, the females are dressed in more fashionable, lighter clothing to suit their youthful ages and underlying innocence. Their floral wear creates connotations connected with nature and therefore purity, suggesting they are all younger and much more innocent than the opposing antagonist. These light, floaty florals are signals to tell the audience that she is from an opposing social group of which is more innocent and vulnerable. Each victim is of the same social group each being young girls. This repetition of these types of females all from the same social group being murdered by the same antagonist represents the young females social group as vulnerable, and represents the female gender as slightly threatened by powerful men – again working on the archaic ideology that women are inferior to men.
The last victim wears a slightly shorter dress which reveals more of her legs. Although her dress is still lighter and floral, it looks slightly more revealing. This represents her as an ‘object’ to men, due to the fact that her legs are more on display thus being more provocative in which males could stereotypically see as an ‘invitation’. This therefore conforms to the stereotype that she is vulnerable and our ideology that females in the social context are the victim in society.
When compared to the murderer’s costume, this opposing dress sense emphasises the fact they are from different social groups. For one, the baggy dark parker jacket and dark worker boots completely create opposite connotations. This clothing implies to the audience that this character does not want to be seen, which suggests he could be hiding from something which is what we wanted our audience to think.
We attempted to conform to the stereotypes that the older character in a social group usually has more power. The male character, the murder’s age is also shown as being older than the female, which in the same way is conveyed through a number of low angle shots, to imply that he is the more powerful one in the social context. This age comparison represents this particular social group as being strongly determined by social status, and where a person stands in a group determines how much they are respected by the other members of that group. Although they are not within the same social group in general, the social context they are in for the time being suggests that age, gender and power plays a key importance in conforming to audiences expectations.
Our chosen locations also represent the particular social group in which we attempted to represent. The film begins with an establishing shot of a scenic field view which has connotations with country walks and innocence of nature’s beauty. We would not expect such crimes to happen here and therefore this surreal location represents the females own innocence and virtue.
The shots of the forest scenes in which this confrontation takes place, is more likely to be associated with walking home. The victims were all walking home from somewhere and took a short cut through a forest. This automatically leads the audiences expectations towards that of something bad could happen, thus conforming to our narrative ideology. This common teenage activity is expected with the characters ages, which in turn creates verisimilitude due to the fact the audience whom are of a similar age, can relate to this.
The location of a dark work shed is contrasted to this natural location, which helps juxtapose this characterisation. The antagonist’s nature is dark and mysterious and therefore we complimented his personality with a dark and eerie work shed with tools in the background. This implied he was a lonesome individual, and perhaps incapable of typical social interaction- this implying he is from an opposing social group.
In terms of characterisation, the fact the female actors are teenagers themselves helps the target audience relate to what’s going on, as our target audience are young adults between the ages of 16 to 26. The characters in our sequence help conform to stereotypes about particular social groups due to the fact their age is the same of those you would find in this particular social group, this therefore creates verisimilitude for the audience.
Overall, I feel as though we successfully conveyed the realism within the stereotypes associated with the particular social context that we used for our film. We successfully manipulated everyday situations by adding surreal effects and ideologies in order to engage our target audience, so that they can relate to it, and managed to exaggerate it to turn it into shocking and memorable situations.