Analyse the Ways the Director Builds Suspense and Scares the Audience in the Film Jaws.
‘Jaws’ is a 1975 American horror thriller film, directed by Steven Spielberg and based on a best-selling novel by Peter Benchley. ‘Jaws’ is set at Amity Island of USA. The film is about a police chief Martin Brody of Amity Island, a fictional summer resort town; Brody just like other police chief’s tries to protect his people and tourists from a giant white shark by closing the beach although he is overruled by the town council who want the beach to remain open, so that the town can make profit from tourists during the summer season.
The reason for this is that on the 4th July 1776, the declaration on independents of America was approved by the Contental Congress. So therefore Americans use this day to celebrate and people go on holidays that were to be marked by parades. After several attacks, Brody realises its driving him insane to see all those people suffer from the shark so he asks a marine biologist Matt Hooper and a professional shark hunter Quint to help him capture and kill the giant shark and stop all the freights people at Amity Island are getting.
The music of ‘Jaws’ is written by John Williams. The choice of music John has made is very interesting and easy to pick out or even memories. The main “shark” theme has its own simple alternating pattern of two notes, E and F and it’s also a classic piece of suspense music with approaching danger. The soundtrack piece was performed by a tuba player. But however John has written it to sound rather dramatic. In the music sequence whenever the shark is near its prey or attacking, its own theme tune is made to build up tension during this.
The music is made in a certain way to scare the audience as it is made to represent the shark’s heart beat. You know it’s the shark and that something is obviously going to happen although at some parts of the movie it does trick you by playing the music but nothing exciting happens. Two other examples of music or silence is used to scare the audience to build up tension is when the radio is playing on the beach then after the second attack its silent and when all the characters at the beginning are sat round a fire and music is playing cheerfully which contrasts on what we all know is about to happen.
The camera techniques’ used in the film ‘Jaws’ are very effective and attracts the audience’s attention. The second attack is filmed underwater. The camera is made in a certain way to represent the shark’s eye view of the surroundings but the shark is never viewed to the audience, this technique is used every time the shark is near its prey. So therefore this creates tension and scares the audience by making them think the attack will happen anytime now.
The second attack is when all the children are playing in the sea while their parents watch them on the beach and Brody is doing his job sat looking out for anything suspicious because of the previous attack. During this the camera is used to keep the audience concentrating on the sea although lots of distractions take place as there are tourists walking in Brody’s view of the sea, this technique warns the audience to be aware as it’s also a sign of danger. Just before Alex Kintner is attacked he asks his mother if he can stay in the water for longer she replies saying “10 more minutes”.
This gives the audience a sign that in 10 minutes something tragic will happen… therefore it repeats in the audiences head ’10 minutes, 10 minutes. Something tragic will happen’. During this the camera zooms into the boy’s face to show the audience his reactions in more detail in which he seems happy. Alex goes to get his Lillo, the camera concentrates on him. Then he goes into the sea. A very short while later a bunch of other children join him. Again the camera zooms in and shows the children’s reactions just before the attack.
The camera techniques which are used builds up tension because it goes beneath the water and makes it seem like it’s from the sharks’ point of view and it allows us to see the swimmers kicking in the water. When the shark is attacking the camera went from a distance so you could see all the people’s faces and just how exactly Alex is attacked. The camera technique used is a Medium Long Shot; this allows the audience to see the attack and the surroundings in more detail. The director builds up fear for the shark by making the music seem sly and dangerous.
The director also makes the music seem like the kind of music you would expect from a murder film. He also builds tension by showing all the attacks in detail and comes quite at a distance so you can see just what actually happens to the victims as if you were watching from the beach. However during the film the shark is described as 25 feet long and weighing 3 tons, several time, this is in a way of giving the audience clues and it even creates a picture in the audiences heads of what its finally going to ook like. In the film other sharks are also mentioned as well as the great White Shark, although they both almost paint the same image in the audience’s head as they both show you different ways physical and emotional damages that the shark can cause. The ‘Physical’ techniques used are usually to scare the audience in a sodden movement. And the ‘Emotional’ technique is used to scare the audience very slowly by getting the message across mentally…