‘Clown Train‘ is a good short film for using sound to contribute to the atmosphere.
At the beginning 27 second black screen, we can only hear the sound. With the mix of consistent scary film and train moving sound, it guide audience to a curiously and a little horrible atmosphere. Then sound seems like stop and the entire world seems like quiet, but some little bit sound not stops and cause whole train zoom has an ethereal feeling. Audience will like think about “what gonna happen next?”
I realize that there is some drumbeat sounded “bang”, “bang” for each moment while both characters’ eyes notice each other first time. This is a detail but heighten the tension space. Also, there are some light flash with electric sparks sound create more tension atmosphere. For further development of the plot, the clown suddenly sits in the front of the man after several light flash and his short story. The drumbeat become more pressing seems showing the man’s uneasy feeling. By a little tense mood of the man talk with the “smiling” clown, strange sound becomes more and more. After usual light flash again, clown sits near the man and talks another joke. While the clown talking to the horrible part (this part should be thinking by the man and audience then realize something wrong), the sound becoming more and more hurry then screeching halt. This is the important part of SCARY. Immediately the clown laughs cause creepy feeling to everyone. In the end, subtitle showing while we can hear the strange sound mix the train moving faster and faster away, cover the whole film.
As another genre film like ‘Silent Hill’—(Horror, Drama, Suspense, Fantasy) and ‘Wanted’—(Action, Horror, Crime), they have different manners of sound to create tension.
‘Silent Hill’ is similar as ‘Clown Train’ utilise ethereal sound like wind blowing & weird echo, sirens (story key sound), drumbeats, water drops sound and strange & horrible sound (I researched sound source like this). Especially the special rhythmic sound of drums can catch audience’s heartbeats and remind audience keep attention about scary may happen next time. Here’s the movie clip of ‘Silent Hill’:
‘Wanted’ utilise especially the strong heartbeats and slowly shooting sound to create a tension and exciting atmosphere. Here’s the movie clip of ‘Wanted’:
Interesting, I seems find the same points of these sound tracks—drums. Drums are sounds like close than humans’ heartbeats, maybe it can easily catch hold of audience’s attention.
The visual aspects are appropriate for the short film theme.
The lighting is suitable for the zoom of metro. We can easily know the metro underground and don’t know where is it, as it’s dark outside. It is guide audience pay attention on what happened inside the metro. And as describe the short film above, light flash is a key action to cut shoot and make characters teleport become possible and also make a disturbing moment.
Only the clown is colorful, other areas include the man on the train are cool colour. Clown’s face becomes more vivid and his head attract audience eyes.
After black screen few seconds later at the beginning, the framing shoots from outside of the train. It attracts audience’ curiosity: “What will happen inside the metro?” Each characters was not in the middle of the framing, they all keep a space that seems like can see each other. Most scenes are at the half-length portrait because characters are talking. When they sit closer, we can see one character’s back of the head that can easily image their relationship of sitting position. With close-range and vision, it does not make the dialogue boring. In addition, overlooking shoot can show how many people there are.