Saturday, October 29, 2016

Film Review: Jaws (1975)

Jaws (Review)
United States/1975
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No
*A 31 Days of Halloween Special Review

"It's a suspenseful and horrifying film."

When a great white shark terrorizes the island of Amity, the police chief, an oceanographer, and a shark hunter set out to stop it...

Jaws is a simple but effective film. The story follows Amity Island police chief, Martin Brody (Roy Scheider). After a dead body is discovered on shore, the apparent victim of a shark attack, Martin attempts to close the beach until further notice. However, the city officials are quick to cover it up – a boating accident, they say. You see, Amity relies on its beaches for summer profit, so they can't close due to a shark. Unfortunately, the shark attacks continue, which results in more fatalities. This eventually leads Martin to join oceanographer Matt Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss) and grizzled shark hunter Quint (Robert Shaw) on a hunt. There are a few moments where the film has an inconsistent pace, but it never truly hurts the narrative. The climax is epic and the ending is moderately satisfying. I mean, it just sort of ends.

Jaws is an adventure/horror film, which is why I'm reviewing it for 31 Days of Halloween 2016. It is a film that instill a sense of adventure in its audience while simultaneously terrifying said audience. The sense of adventure comes from the setting, the plot, and the direction – and even the music. I suppose much of the horror comes from the same aspects. It's a film that can make you excited while causing you to fear the beach. It's suspenseful, it's unnerving, and it's even a bit witty. Aside from the occasionally inconsistent pace – which, for me, kicked in during the latter half – there isn't much that I disliked about this film. It's not perfect, but it's definitely an exhilarating experience.

Roy Scheider performs well as the leading man. The supporting cast is also strong. There were many 70s/80s horror films with bad acting – this isn't one of them. (Probably because it wasn't treated as a horror film, though.) The film looks great. The cinematography and the camerawork are stellar. It's a beautiful movie, really. The music is also fantastic. However, it did often feel to 'lighthearted' - for want of a better word. When a shark is attacking, I don't want it to sound like I'm watching E.T. The film was written by Peter Benchley and Carl Gottlieb, and directed by Steven Spielberg. The writing is strong, focusing on character and atmosphere. Spielberg crafts an ominous film thanks to his focus on buildup and suspense.

Overall, Jaws is a great movie. It's a suspenseful and horrifying film. It has many unforgettable moments, enough to leave a scar in your memories. I don't think it's perfect, I don't even think it's Spielberg's best, but it is splendid. If you haven't watched it, you really should.

Score: 8/10
Parental Guide: Violence and gore. (Rated PG? Really?)

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