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Consider how the audience is terrorised by the film Jaws.

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During the summer of 1975, North American beaches were quieter than usual. This wasn't the result of concern over the damaging damaging the environment. Beaches were poorly attended because people were scared. Jaws was enough to keep them away. While there was hype around it's release, the extreme public reaction was less due to marketing. Despite a brutal on-location filming experience, during which the now-ancient technology that brought the shark to life broke down repeatedly, director Steven Spielberg constructed a chillingly frightening film about a wayward and decidedly hungry great white shark that's marauding the beaches of New England's usually peaceful Amity Island. ...read more.


The three head out to confront the shark and hopefully free Amity of its menace. There's nothing about Jaws story to indicate that the movie is anything special. There have been plenty of scary animal movies before and since, but this one works better than just about any of them. The principle reason for this success is the fact that the 'monster' isn't visible for the first half of the movie; it's the anticipation of horror that grabs us much more than the terrible acts themselves. John Williams' unforgettable Jaws theme reminds us of the terror that lurks just beneath the surface, and it is so successful that it has been used endlessly since it became famous upon the movie's release. ...read more.


The acting, while a secondary element of the film, certainly doesn't hurt the proceedings any. Scheider is strong as the transplanted city cop who's trying to do the right thing, despite his fear of the water; Dreyfuss is surprisingly and effectively low-key as the scientific egghead who's up to the real-world challenge presented by the huge shark; Shaw is the quintessential crusty seafarer. The last half of the movie, while it has lost the mystery surrounding the shark (we see him far too much for that to be retained), continues to succeed because the performances are so competent. For more than a quarter century, Jaws has continued to scare almost everyone who watches it. I don't anticipate that the effect will wear off anytime soon. ...read more.

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