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Ministry of Education.

Viewing Focus

Divide the class into five groups. Allocate one of the five viewing roles below to each group. As each group views Heavenly Creatures they should record information to help them answer the questions listed under their allocated heading. 

At the conclusion of the film each group should present its information to the class. Students can then incorporate relevant information as they develop their presentations. 

Camera Shots, Angles and Movement

  • Analyse the scene which begins with the arrival of students to Christchurch Girls' High. What types of shots, angles and movement are used? What atmosphere is portrayed by the use of these techniques?

  • As the film progresses and the girls become increasingly delusional the incidence of close up shots increases. Find examples of this and discuss why you think this might be happening. 

  • Analyse the sequence starting on the morning of the murder through to the conclusion of the film. How does tension increase through the use of camera shots, angles and movement?

Lighting and Colour

  • How is mood and emotion conveyed through colour and or lighting? You might like to compare how colour and lighting are used in the reality and fantasy sequences in the film.
  • What effect does the use of the colour red have throughout the film?
  • Which colour is predominant towards the end of the film?


  • Discuss the significance of the hymn "A Closer Walk With Thee" which is sung during the school assembly.

  • What effects do the voice overs of Pauline reading her diary have upon the film? 

  • What role does Mario Lanza's music play in the film?

  • The final song in the film, as the credits appear is "You'll Never Walk Alone". Discuss the irony this creates given the conclusion of the film. 

Editingand Special Effects

  • Discuss the use of special effects in the fantasy sequences of the film. What techniques are used to portray the Fourth World and Borovnia?

  • Discuss the effect of following the archive footage with the shots of Juliet and Pauline running away from the murder scene.

  • The film is interspersed with black and white sequences of Juliet and Pauline on a cruise liner. Why do you think they have chosen to incorporate these scenes into the film?

  • Comment on the editing evident in the final scenes during Mrs Reiper's murder. How does the editing add to the tension?

Published on: 02 Dec 2010