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date: 28 September 2022


A Dictionary of Film Studies

Annette Kuhn,

Guy Westwell

A film that thrills—causes the viewer to experience agitation, excitement, anxiety, suspense, or fear, often as a bodily sensation; a ‘breathtaking’ or ‘spine-chilling’ film. The thriller is not strictly a genre but rather a mode that cuts across different film genres. Often a crime is central to the plot and key characters are criminals, forces of law and justice, victims, and bystanders, with action and suspense usually focusing on one of these groups. The aim is to startle, shock, scare, and surprise the spectator—responses generated narratively by means of twists, turns, and retardations in the plot and manipulations of ... ...

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