Closed Doors Textual Analysis

“Some doors aren’t meant to be opened…”

Closed Doors in an award winning short thriller film released in 2011. It is about a young adult who hears a woman being abused by her boyfriend and tries to stop him, but the film doesn’t end how you’d expect it to.


The short film opens with a WA shot of a door and the camera slowly zoom in, implying that it behind the door, something dangerous lies. “CLOSED DOORS” comes onto the screen, creating a direct link to the previous shot. The title is in white serif font which is symbolic of innocence and purity, juxtaposing what is about to happen. A CU shows a male typing on a computer, the use of high-key lighting with shadows and sound score creates an eerie atmosphere. The non-diegetic dialogue coming from the corridor seems to put the male on edge and this is reinforced by the ECU of him looking through the door and one of the males walking states “it’s always the quiet ones”. Then a cutaway shows a picture of a child and woman, possibly his mother and him.

Later on non-diegetic sound effects of thumping and dialogue create a tense atmosphere. A cutaway illustrates where these sounds are coming from… next door. A flashback in the males mind gives the audience an insight into his past, where there is abuse and screaming, and the ECU of the picture of his mother implies that she was the one abused and the camera isn’t in focus and therefore blurry, conveying that his mind is blurred and he cannot think straight.

A tracking shot follows the male walking nervously down the corridor and a HA CU shot illustrates his vulnerability when knocking on the door. A female answers the door but only opens it slightly, connoting that she is trying to hide something. She also seems uncomfortable due to her shifting body language and the eerie sound scored highlights this but still states that she’s “fine” however, the male refuses to leave an places his foot in the door and ask’s if she’s okay again, to which there is no reply and shuts the door, highlighting and reinforcing to the audience that she is hiding something.

Later on, a POV shot reveals that there is blood on his shoe, from the female. The male knocks louder and more urgently on the door and the tough-looking boyfriend comes out and says “its nothing just clear off” making the audience and the male suspicious and ask questions such as “what is happening/has happened?”. When the male is pushed by the boyfriend the sound score changes and becomes more intense and slowly gets louder as the male gets angrier. The push sets off another flashback in the males mind of abuse and he then kicks the door in.

The male and the boyfriend begin to fight and the female shouts “stop!”, protecting her boyfriend but the male ignores this and a POV shot shows a bottle which can be used as a weapon. The scene becomes faster paced with shorter shot durations, creating a sense of urgency, danger and tension for the audience. The males are covered in blood but continue to fight, with the male pinning down the boyfriend, and HA on the boyfriend highlights how vulnerable he is and how much danger he is in. A whip pan shows the male grabbing the bottle and hits the male over the head. However, a flashback shows (who I presume is his father) also maliciously hitting someone with a bottle, implying to the audience that the male isn’t in reality, but killing his Father in the all consuming flashback and not intentionally killing the boyfriend.

The male gets knocked out by the girlfriend and wakes up. A POV shot shows that there is no blood on his shoe, and the audience can denote that there was never any blood, and that it was in his head. The female is crying and bends down to hug her dying boyfriend. The sound score gets louder and more dramatic, and a hand-help POV shot shows flowers that the boyfriend gave to her, as well as photographs pinned on the wall with them smiling and happy, highlighting their love and that there was never any abuse, to reinforce this, there was candles lit, and they were just having a romantic evening. An ECU of the males eyes show guilt and remorse whilst there is non-diegetic sound of the female crying.

The male leaves and a pull focus reveals a picture of the couple smiling and happy, but now on a broken mirror and covered in her boyfriends blood. The male returns to his room and the hand-held shaking camera comes in and out of focus, creating disorientation and confusion to the audience, conveying the males disorientation and confusion in his mind. Finally, the male looks blankly at the floor and picks up the photo of him and his mother, but unfolds it, revealing a man and then crumples up the picture connoting that he knows what he did was wrong and that he has become like the abusive male in his flashbacks.

In the credits, family films shows how happy the couple were, and their experiences together, which is now ruined. It also shows more of the flashbacks of the man coming towards the males door with the bottle. And finally, the first shot in the film is shown but zooming out front the door with non-diegetic police sirens, and therefore, the males door should have remained “CLOSED”.

My Opinion:

This is an incredible unique short film which a phenomenal twist that couldn’t be predicted (unlike many other thrillers), and this has inspired me to create a plot twist in my short film that the audience will struggle to predict.

Media Theory:

  • Levi Strauss (Binary oppositions) –Good VS Evil.
  • Roland Barthes (Enigma theory) – The theory which suggests any text (e.g tv and film) makes the audience question something and intrigues the audience, drawing them in.
  • Propp’s Narrative theory – The main character attempted to repair the state of disequilibrium but failed, resulting in a state of new equilibrium not, returning it to previous equilibrium.
  • Todorov’s Narrative theory – Leaves the audience questioning what happens next to the main character, as well as what the couples true relationship was like.

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