English coursework Kirsty vanderwens
Analyse the ways that the director builds suspense and scares the audience in the film ‘Jaws’
The film we studied for media is called ‘Jaws’ by Stephen Spielberg. ’Jaws’ is about a great white shark, which is in the sea attacking and killing humans for food. This film was set in Amity Island, in the summer, so a lot of people would go there for tourism and to be on the beaches. The 4th of July in an important day as a lot of people would go to beaches for a public holiday, it’s a special day and a happy time where a lot of people go.
Spielberg connects the music to the shark, so when we hear the music we know the shark is coming. The music builds up tension and sounds like beating of the heart by getting quicker and quicker and louder and louder as the shark gets nearer. The music builds up a lot of tension to the audience that is why the audience are so tense and scared. The first attack is scary, as we don’t know what was going to happen and when. There is a contrast between all the screaming and splashing from the girl and when you see the boy slumped on the beach with low-pitched music playing in the background. We know when the attack is over as for the sudden silence at the end of each attack. The second attack is similar, with all the people panicking and screaming seeing this little boy getting eaten, but there is a contrast between when the boy is getting eaten to when the lilo just drifts from side to side on the shore, silence, everything is calm.
The second attack starts by a tracking shot following the boy walking to his mum, the audience is feeling concerned as he is on his own. There is a wide-angle shot as Brody watches the water very nervously, he thinks something might happen. He cannot take his eye off the water as he knows there is a shark and he is very tense. It next shows jump cuts of the dog and his owner playing on the beach with a ball. Then there is a wide-angle shot of the dog swimming and the boy swimming on his lilo in the sea. Brody continues to watch the water. He is very worried sot he director takes close ups of his facial expressions and the worry on his face. As the sunburnt man talks to him, there is an extreme close up with Brody peeking over the mans shoulder. Brody doesn’t listen to a word the mans saying all he’s focused on is the water and people init. He suddenly see’s what he think is an attack, but isn’t. Then many boys rush in the water, having a good time using a mid-angle shot. Then there is a wide-angle shot as a small child sings a man calls for his dog, this builds up tension that the dog could have been eaten. As the music starts playing and the tension starts building up there is a close-up of the next victim’s legs under the water from the shark’s point of view. This is building up a lot of tension to the audience, as the music is getting louder and louder and quicker and quicker. As the next attack is happening its seen in the distance using a wide-angle shot showing the sea with the boy being eaten. As Brody realises what’s happening there is an extreme close-up of his face. There is a general panic, everyone’s screaming and scared, coming out of the water lots of jump cuts and hysteria and panic. Wide angle shots of a bunch of people panicking. Then just low volumed music, the sound of sea flowing, as the yellow lilo washes up on the shore, by using a mid-angle shot. This shows the contrast between a sudden silence with low volumed music and all calm to panicking and screaming as the boy is being attacked.