Tension and Suspense the Novel and the Opening Scene of the Film Jaws

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Tension and Suspense the Novel and the Opening Scene of the Film Jaws

Peter Benchley wrote "Jaws" the novel before it was made into a film directed by Steven Spielberg. "Jaws" is a thriller with the main aim being to build up suspense and tension. In the novel Peter Benchley uses many variations of language techniques to emphasise important points that build up suspense. He also uses sentence and paragraph structure to affect the reader in many different ways. Steven Spielberg on the other hand uses different camera angles and shots alongside lighting effects to create atmosphere and tension. In the background he uses music and sound effects to add to the dramatic visual images he creates. Finally
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The tempo and volume gradually increase with the intention of raising the viewer's heartbeat. This increase also gives the effect that whatever is moving through the water is getting closer and speeding up. Then all of a sudden a dramatic picture, from the shark's eye view appears, creeping through the weeds on the seabed. The camera angle is very effective, as the audience moves through the weeds with the shark. The dimly lit darkness of deep underwater which creates an unclear picture has the effect of making the audience anxious as nobody knows what the shark is about to find.

The instant that the picture appears, an abrupt increase in the tempo and the volume of the music makes the viewer's heart leap. Amounting tension causes an adrenaline rush and makes the viewer edgy. Suspense is created because the viewer knows that something will happen but does not know when. When the music comes to a climax a horn joins in with the cellos. Horns are generally associated with any kind of hunt and although the audience doesn't yet know that the shark is after the girl the horn adds to the overall nervousness of the atmosphere. As screeching, slashing violins can be heard the bold, glaring title Jaws appears in capital letters signalling the ultimate climax of the tension. Just when the audience can't take
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