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Virus (Simon Hynd, 2002)

A short, stylish, supernatural thriller. Andrew is working late at the office when he receives an email from his girlfriend, Amber. The email is blank but contains an attachment. Andrew downloads the attachment, a QuickTime movie shot from Amber’s web cam and discovers some shocking footage...

Classroom Activities

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Questions

  1. Where does Andrew (the central character) work?

  2. How do we know that he is working late?

  3. How many electronic devices or machines are shown in the film?

  4. How do you think Andrew is killed?

  5. Why do you think the film is called ‘Virus’ rather than, say, ‘Death at the Office’?

  6. Is there a serious message to the film, or is it made simply for entertainment?

Watching

BEFORE WATCHING

  • Before watching the film, cover the video screen and ask pupils to listen carefully to the soundtrack, noting down what they think they can hear. Compare notes and try to work out what type of film it might be. Then invite them to guess at the content and style of the images.

WHILE WATCHING

  • Play the film and pause at those shots depicting the interior or exterior of the building. Using the Spot the Shots sheets for recording, ask pupils to describe what they see, paying particular attention to colour. How is colour used to create atmosphere or suggest emotion and mood?

  • With a Spot the Shots worksheet, look for examples of close-up, medium shot, long shot and point of view shot. Note links between the shot and the story event.

  • Note all the moments in the film when the camera moves (pans, tilts, tracking shots and zooms). Discuss what effect these camera movements have on the storytelling.

Analysing

PREDICTIONS

  • Complete a 'Tell Me' grid analysis of the film and discuss as a group.

  • Show the opening minute of the film and ask your pupils to spot the linking content/idea in the various shots.

CHARACTER

  • Discuss what can we tell about the main character Andrew’s relationship with Amber, his girlfriend. How does the filmmaker indicate this?

GENRE

  • In groups, ask the class to make a list of all the thriller/horror stories or films they know. Then ask them to list the features they have in common. Then ask them to compare this film and work out what makes it different in the way it makes you scared.

SYMBOLISM

  • Count/list how many electronic devices or machines are shown in the film. Discuss what point the filmmaker is trying to make here.

  • How many different kinds of camera are used in the making of the film? What effect does that have?

NARRATIVE

  • The story is told in ‘real time’ (everything actually happens in the space of six minutes). What effect does that have on the dramatic tension?

Creative

DRAW

  • Using drawings or still images from the film, re-create it as a comic-strip and ask pupils to add thought bubbles to the characters.

DEBATE

  • ‘Our addiction to technology will be the death of us.’ Have we become too dependent on digital media? Do they make us more vulnerable to attack, both on a personal and national level?

  • CCTV cameras now record our every move. Does this make us more secure, or is the loss of personal freedom too high a price to pay?

DRAMA

  • The film is very dramatic, and the narrative is conveyed without the use of dialogue. Re-enact the events of the film as if it was a stage-play, conveying the characters’ thoughts and feelings through body language.

WRITE

  • Imagine you are a newspaper or TV news reporter called to the office building the next morning to cover the story. Write and/or present a news item about the event.

RESEARCH

  • Explore the use of the internet as a modern means of communication.

Clip Details

Record Id 007-002-000-067-C
Resource Rights Holder Simplefilms
Project Ref SCRS-07
References Interview with the filmmaker , The script, The storyboard
Year of Production 2002
Genre Drama, Horror
Curriculum Areas Expressive Arts, Literacy and English, Social studies, Sciences, Technologies
Who Simon Hynd (Director, Writer), Sanna Pajula (Producer)
Country of Origin UK
Medium / Content Live Action, Fiction, Colour, Sound
Themes Internet, Horror, Work, Paranoia, Technophobia
Clip Length 06:00