Silence Of The Lambs Textual Analysis

This is the opening title sequence of ‘Silence Of The Lambs’:

‘Silence Of The Lambs’ is a horror/thriller movie which can also be categorised under the genre of crime and drama. It was released in 1991 and directed by Jonathan Demme. The opening title sequence clearly reveals the genre of thriller as dark lighting, isolated locations and slow, mysterious music has been used.

Personally, I don’t really like this opening title sequence because it is almost 3 minutes of the camera tracking one girl running. Not much insight of the movie is given, however the theme of isolation is established as well as the thriller genre due to the eerie atmosphere. The audience easily loses interest as there isn’t much going on.

Textual Analysis:

The sequence begins with non diegetic sound as slow, calm music can be heard. An establishing shot has been used to reveal the location of an isolated forest surrounded by water. Small, white writing has been used at the bottom right corner to reveal the exact location of the woods. Following this, black writing has been placed in the centre of the screen to begin the titles.

A high angle has been used as the camera begins to slowly track the woods, creating emphasis on how isolated and mysterious it is. The slow music adds to this as an eerie atmosphere has been created.

A female figure can be seen in the woods as she gets closer to the camera. The camera pans downwards to get a clearer image of her and make the audience’s attention be fully on her. A medium shot has been used to reveal her face as she seems to be in this isolated area because she is exercising. Due to her being alone, the audience feels worried for her as she is presented to be vulnerable in this isolated setting. As she runs out of the shot, the camera begins to slowly zoom into a tree. However, a quick cut has been used to present the female character to be running as the camera tracks behind her. Black writing appears in flashes over the shot to reveal the credits. They stand out as it is in large, black capital writing which has a white outline to make it stand out from the dark background.

The camera then cuts onto a medium shot to capture the front of the girl as she continues to run in the isolated wooded area. The camera angle then changes as a side view of her is presented as she continues to run. A high angle on her shoes is the next shot which adds to the emphasis created on the fact that she may be running away from something, like she is in trouble and trying to escape.

She then begins to climb something as the camera pans around her to reveal how she is trying to overcome obstacles which could foreshadow obstacles in her life which she is also trying to overcome. When she is presented to be climbing this, a low angle has been used to emphasise how she is in control and able to overcome these obstacles.

The sequence ends with a long shot of her running away into the distance when the screen then fades to black and ends.


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