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Analysis Of The Ways The Director Builds Suspense And Scares The Audience In Jaws

3944 words - 16 pages

Analysis of the Ways the Director Builds Suspense and Scares the Audience in Jaws

We studied the film “JAWS”, which was made by award winning director
Steven Spielberg.

“JAWS” was based on Peter Benchley’s number one best-selling novel in
1974. The Plotline for the film is about a police officer, a
scientist, and a grizzled sailor who set out to kill a great white
shark, which has been menacing the seaside community of Amity Island.
The film was set in a seaside resort in America called Amity. The
sign, which first introduces us to Amity Island, tells us that it is
celebrating its 50th annual regatta on the 4th – 10th July 1975. The 4th
July in America is a big public holiday, so it was a very clever idea
to set in when lots of people would be using the beaches. Even though
the first two attacks by the shark were before the annual regatta,
every other attack is during the busy public holiday or after.

During the film Steve Spielberg uses music, a mysterious shark and
camera techniques such as simultaneous track and zoom, long shot,
close up shots and medium shots to build suspense, tension and scare
the audience.

The music represents the shark, especially its movements and its
presence. In the title sequence the camera is moving along the seabed
like a shark. Spielberg makes the audience believe that the camera is
viewing things through the sharks eyes, he uses a camera shot called
point of view shot (POV). The music makes the shark seem a mystery
because you haven’t yet seen the shark but you can feel its presence.
The music clouds your vision and makes you imagine and believe
something that actually isn’t even there. It builds tension and the
music gives a dramatic and eerie effect. Other example of how music of
silence is used to scare the audience or build tension will be
discussed next.

The first scene, Chrissie strips to go swimming in the sea, the man
from the same camp – where music is playing and the atmosphere is
happy and relaxed – is chasing her towards the beach. The man is drunk
and collapses; Chrissie has been in the sea already, for a long time
on her own. The water is calm and you can here it lap against itself
and brush up to the shore and a warning bell is heard that is used to
warn ships and other obstacles. Suddenly the camera shot dips under
the water, the dramatic music from the title sequence begins. The
audience can see Chrissie swimming, as the music continues getting
faster the sharks presence is made known to the audience. As the shark
approaches her – her legs are dangling downwards under the water. Just
as soon as we...

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