How Does the Director Try to Build Suspense and Scare the Audience in the Film Jaws?

2614 Words Feb 24th, 2013 11 Pages
How does the director try to build suspense and scare the audience in the film Jaws?

The film Jaws, directed by Steven Spielberg, was created approximately 30 years ago. It tells the story of a shark which attacks and kills numerous people off the north-east coast of the USA in a small holiday resort called Amity Island. The attacks took place around the 4th of July, which in America, is similar to the British bank holiday. During this time, many Americans and tourists from abroad visit resorts such as Amity Island for a summer vacation.
The director of the film, Steven Spielberg builds up fear of the shark using many different techniques. One of these techniques is the use of music. Spielberg uses a non-diegetic piece of music which
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Again, as after the first attack on Chrissie, the audience can’t believe how something so terrible is happening when the mood set by the little boy is so calm and untroubled. This use of music and contrasting emotions builds up tension and fear affecting the audience as it makes them feel confused, as they can’t understand how things can be so pleasant then suddenly so devastating.
Spielberg also exploits various camera techniques to build up fear and suspense in the film Jaws. For example, during the second attack on Alex, a lot of different camera techniques and angles are being used. The start of the scene is a tracking shot, showing Alex coming out of the sea and sitting next to his mother on the beach. After some persuasion, his mother lets him have just 10 more minutes in the water. Then a further tracking shot is used, as we follow Alex up the beach as he goes and gets his lilo. The use of this camera angle, which focuses the audience’s attention on Alex, immediately makes them feel more attached to the character.
The next part of the scene shows Alex running into the sea on his lilo. The camera technique used for this part is a medium shot from a reverse angle, showing him from behind. This camera angle builds up fear as all the audience can see is Alex on his lilo and the bearing sea in front of him with no-one else in sight. This immediately makes the audience realise that Alex is vulnerable and that if something was to