Analyse the ways that the director builds suspense and scares the audience in the film Jaws

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Stephanie Corris

Analyse the ways that the director builds suspense and scares the audience in the film ‘Jaws’

Analyse the ways that the director builds suspense and scares the audience in the film ‘Jaws’

Steven Speilberg directed the film, Jaws. It is about the attacks of a ‘rogue’ great white shark on the coast of Amity Island, USA. It was set in 1975 on the 4th of July. It was set on this date because it is American Independence Day. Everyone would be on holiday and the weather would be particularly good, meaning the beaches would be packed! This would be a good time for the shark to attack which makes the audience feel nervous and excited, they know that the shark is going to attack but don’t know when, making it a surprise when it does.

The shark is connected with the music from the opening scene because later on in the film, during the tracking shot of the victim this music begins and it makes the audience immediately think of a shark!  Also on the title sequence when the audience is viewing the scene from the sharks point of view, all the small fish and sea life around instantly move away. This makes the audience know that a big fish (big enough to scare away the others) is coming.  Music or silence is used often in the film to create tension or to scare the audience. Two examples of this are when the shark expert is under water examining the boat that had been damaged by a shark. There is no sound except from the bubbles the shark expert is making when he opens his mouth. This builds up suspense and even though the audience knows that something is about to happen they don’t know what, so it becomes a surprise when a loud low piece of music comes on. Another example of this is the 1st attack involving the teenage girl. To begin with there is the sound of the radio then as the attack progresses, the title music kicks in which makes the audience get ready for an attack. After the attack there is silence, very few noises what so ever. This surprises the audience because of the contrast between the loud and quiet. The audience could find this rather eerie.

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The second attack was on Alex, the young boy, and the dog. First we see the setting of a crowded beach with all ages of people. The boy called Alex, walks up to his mother on the beach, this is done using a simultaneous tracking and mid shot. It focuses on the boy, which highlights the amount of people on the beach. At this point the audience remembers Brody’s wish to shut the beach, they also begin to predict what is going to happen. The boy then asks if he can stay in the water some more. ...

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