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Thursday, October 11, 2012

Jaws - Review (1975) 31 Days of Horror #6

Synopsis:  When a small beach town's most profitably holiday week is put at risk due to a couple shark attacks it is up to the water-fearing police chief (Roy Scheider) and a couple of misfits (Robert Shaw and Richard Dreyfuss) to save the day.  (Okay, maybe they are not your standard misfits, but wouldn't  Shaw and Dreyfuss be wonderful as a live action Yukon Cornelius and Hermey?)

Review:  You know you have a good film on your hands when you have seen it a dozen times and still find it just as thrilling and fun to watch as the first.  Sure, I know what is coming, and yet, I still watch it with the same anticipation as a little kid waiting for Christmas morning.  Every time I hear, "you're gonna need a bigger boat," is liked opening the big gift.  The combination of the premise, the rich characters, the acting, the score, the cinematography, the editing allows Spielberg to cook up a near perfect thriller.

If they made Jaws today it would be saturated with shots of a CGI shark that performing outrageous stunts and over-the-top bloody kills, all while boring the audience.  Spielberg did not have that option and thank goodness that is the case.  It is well-known Hollywood legend that Shirley, the mechanical shark, was malfunctioning - forcing Spielberg to find a creative approach to telling the tale of a shark attacking a beach town, quite often without a shark to shoot.  No special effects to use as a crutch, just skilled filmmaking.    This forced exercise in creativity possibly made him a better director and set the path for who he is today.

The water scenes where viewers are anticipating another swimmer to be transformed into another bloody stain on the water are intense.  Anyone that has a fear of the water or of what swims within it probably holding their breath waiting to return to the safety of dry land while Spielberg masterfully plays puppeteer to the fear that lies within us.  These scenes are exceptionally done.  What also amazes me what Spielberg does between the shark scenes - the simpler scenes that are used to develop characters and their relationships and their fears.  Unlike some films, where the dialogue is just the boring part between the action, this film makes great use of every scene. 

SCARINESS              3 out of 5   If you have a fear of water you will be more affected, but this is intense either way.

GORE/VIOLENCE       2 out of 5   Some quick shots of the leftovers of a shark attack - nothing too graphic.

STORY                       4 out of  5  You get pulled in pretty quickly.

Overall Rating (as a film, not only as a horror film):  9.5 out of 10

Check out the rest of the reviews for FilmSnork's 31 Days of Horror here.

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