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How Does The Director of Jaws Use Media Devices to Create Fear, Suspense & Tension In the Opening Scene?

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How Does The Director of Jaws Use Media Devices to Create Fear, Suspense & Tension In the Opening Scene? Jaws is a film, directed by Steven Spielberg, in 1975, based on the best-selling novel by Peter Benchley. It follows the story of a gigantic great white shark that begins to menace the small island community of Amity where a police chief, a marine scientist and grizzled fisherman set out to stop it. It was the very first blockbuster film released and due to its huge success, film executives chose to issue it in a much wider release than ever before. The question I am going to answer is; how does the director of Jaws (Steven Spielberg) use media devices to create fear and suspense in the opening scene of the film? I will answer this question by analysing the different techniques including use of sound, camera, editing and lighting. Steven Spielberg creates fear and suspense throughout the opening scene in many ways. Firstly, there is the electric black fade into the beginning of the film, accompanied by the eerie, aquatic sounds in the background. This naturally creates a fear of the unknown whilst also giving off a sense of mystery and danger. Next, a slow, soft sound of the strings is introduced which, later in the film, can be recognised as the Jaws signature music. ...read more.


There is the sound of a mouth organ being played in the background. This shows that there is normality outside of the water and people are unaware of the dangers that are within it. It shows a huge contrast between the introduction and the opening scene: here, the general atmosphere on screen is chilled out and happy; the mouth organ created a relaxed and casual mood whereas it was extremely tense before. Moreover, there is a large bonfire on the beach, which naturally symbolises warmth, security, comfort and safety and in some way counteracts the darkness encountered in the introduction. The camera then pulls back to show a wide shot of the ocean. The audience can hear a non-diegetic sound of the ocean, which creates a small amount of tension as the sea will always be associated with the shark. After that, there is a medium close up of a teenage boy, seemingly drunk. There is also a young teenage girl framed off centre in the shot; she is sitting away from the main group or circle. This makes the audience think she is different and something is likely to happen to her. The girl then decides to go swimming with the boy; this is a typical stereotype of a female doing something unintelligent. ...read more.


There are pauses in the attack, and the camera shows a shot of the boy still lying asleep on the beach. This shows that there was never going to be anyone to help or rescue her or even know what happened to her. This somehow implies that the shark has won which would create even more fear of the shark itself. After the attack, there is a sudden silence, which, in a way, marks the death of the young girl and how dangerous and lethal this predator is. It also invokes sadness into the audience at the demise of such an innocent and naive girl. This scene then ends and all the audience can hear is the sound of the sea; it says the shark is not done yet and there is plenty more to happen - implying that there is going to be a lot more deaths and this notion would generally put fear, suspense and tension into anybody in the audience. Overall, in my opinion, Steven Spielberg used the most appropriate media devices he could for each individual part of the title sequence and opening scene. This resulted in injecting the audience with as much fear and suspense as possible, which created the perfect opening for Jaws. ?? ?? ?? ?? Sasha J. 10a 1 ...read more.

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