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How does Spielberg create tension in the movie "Jaws"?

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Introduction

How does Spielberg create tension in the movie "Jaws"? The film "Jaws" was made in the year 1975 by the director Steven Spielberg. At this time he did not have available to him any C.G.I special effects, but despite this he managed to instil in his audience a sense of fear, tension and many other emotions. He did this using a series of techniques such as music and camera angles. In the film "Jaws" we are immediately shown the first killing of Chrissie, this shows us the power of the shark and initialises the idea that the sharks signature music means that the shark is about to attack or is nearing, we are shown 2 more attacks like this before Quint, Brody and Hooper go out to kill the shark. When they go out to kill the shark we are shown things that we had not seen before and we witness the real strength and size of the shark. In the film "Jaws" Steven Spielberg uses a series of different camera angles to create a sense of fear and tension in the audience. ...read more.

Middle

This shows the audience how vast the sea is and that the shark could be anywhere. The next attack is on the child at the beach. As with the last scene there are techniques used to heighten a sense of fear and tension. Although the techniques are very different. For instance in this scene instead of using mainly camera angles and music to cause tension in the audience, camera angles and music are used less, chief Brody's body language shows the audience that he is tense and scared which makes the audience tense and scared. Also the audience are shown the false attacks with old man in the swim hat and the girl screaming on the boys shoulders. The contrast between how cheery all the beach goers are and how uncomfortable chief Brody is unnerving for the audience. When the boys dog pippin goes missing the mood drops and the audience feel that something is about to happen. Although there are not many camera angles trying to attain a particular effect, the ones that are do it very well, such as immediately before the attack we are shown a low level camera angle underwater, combined with the music at a reasonable calm level. ...read more.

Conclusion

In the final scene of the film "Jaws" we witness a lot more of the shark than we have previously seen in the film. Consequently there is less need for the music to signify that there is danger near. To start the scene off Hooper is lowered into the water in a shark cage. When Hooper is in the shark cage with the shark swimming towards him, the music is somewhat threatening but the audience are made to feel that it is not quite over. The music stops briefly when the shark goes out of sight but comes back louder and more manic than before. A very effective technique used is the close up on Hooper's face accompanied with a high pitched violin, this is very effective because the audience can see and feel Hooper's fear. In the second attack of the last scene there is oddly no music. This is possibly more horrific for the audience because the attack is punctuated by the shark biting though Quint and his bones crunching. For the third and final attack the music starts jubilant but has an eerie undertone. It quickly becomes more menacing as the shark approaches. It is also odd how when Brody kills the shark that there is no happy music. ...read more.

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