Jaws- analyse the way in which the director builds suspense in the film Jaws

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

Steven Spielberg directed the film Jaws which was released in 1974. ‘Jaws’ is an innovative film amongst those such as ‘The Exorcist’ which was also directed by Spielberg. Jaws is about a Great white shark terrorising the beaches of Amity Island, the name of the town creates irony as the word ‘Amity’ means friendship of which the shark does not provide. The film is set on the 4th of July which is an American holiday which represents freedom and independence, which also creates irony as the shark does not provide this to the beachgoers.

In the title sequence of the film/, the audience can see from the shark’s point of view as the shark travels over the coral and through the sea weed formed under the sea’s surface area. As the audience views this happening there is music which is composed by at first guitars, violins and bass drums, etc, which gradually increases in both speed and volume, and other instruments are introduced.

This would create suspense as the viewer would deduce it as being linked to the shark, some audience members may link it to being the shark’s heartbeat as it swims toward its prey

Before the first attack, the non-diegetic music indicates a peaceful atmosphere between

those in the scene. Then as the two youths break away from the rest of those who were in the scene,

Silence is bestowed upon them. As the young woman enters the sea and the young man falls asleep on the sea shore, the camera starts to jump cut from an high angle view of the female character  to a underwater view of her legs as the music starts the jump cuts get closer together as the sharks swims toward her. Suddenly a silence is upon both the female character and the predator. This creates suspense as the audience thinks the shark may have changed course and let the young female survive. As there is a tug on the characters leg, which makes her go under the water for a few seconds, this makes the audience feel scared as she is vulnerable and no one there to help her. As the attack happens, music starts to play, a low, high pitched motif as the character is thrashed around in the open water. The high pitched music creates a horrified atmosphere, which makes the audience feel scared. At the end of the scene the young male presence on the beach.

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Before the second attack takes place the camera jump cuts from the protagonist’s view of the sea and the protagonist. This helps to build suspense as the audience will be focusing on who will be the next victim. The director uses ‘fake attacks’ to scare Brody which as a result reflects to the audience. This would create more fear for the audience whilst the second attack happens because of the suspense built. For an example, when Brody is scanning the sea front, there starts a series of ‘fake’ attacks such as: the young girl screaming and her presumed partner ...

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