In the title sequence there is the sound of bubbles, marine noises and the sound of sonar which sets the scene of being under water. When the music starts it is very quiet and slow. They use the double bass with two notes, one long and low and the other faster and higher. The notes linger for a second which creates tension and makes the audience expect something to happen. While the music is slow and quiet the camera takes the Point of View (POV) of the shark as if it was searching for something. There isn’t much eye-catching so it makes the audience concentrate more on the music.
As this is happening the music starts getting faster and louder by introducing a brass instrument which uses higher notes and a piano which uses lower notes. After this a full orchestra makes the final crescendo and this gives a forceful approach towards the film. After this the music and the image cut instantly and this creates bathos. The cut makes the audience want more to happen and it also makes them wan to know what is going on. In the opening scene there are a mouth organ and a guitar being played. This is a large contrast between the tense music in the last scene and the relaxing mouth organ in this scene.
This makes the audience feel like the group of people around the camp fire are protected because they don’t suppose anything is going to happen. This is made worse because there are casual carefree conversations. The large bonfire on the beach can have connotations of light, hope, happiness and safety but it can also be associated danger, destruction and pain. The fire dramatically darkens the area around the fire which gives the audience a sense of premonition. When the camera pulls back to show a wide sea, they can hear the susurration of the sea in the background.
The camera pulls back to the darkness of the surroundings shows that the people around the fire are isolated and helpless if they walked away from the fire. The sea seems to be too quiet but the sound of the sea can be calming but deceptive. The buoy’s warning bell sounds every so often which again can create tension and shows that something isn’t right. The bell can symbolise danger in fog so it makes the audience think danger, this may causes some apprehension. Spielberg gives the girl, Chrissie, a name to make the attack more personal.
When Chrissie dives into the water there is no music, this is to show that everything is serene. It could also show that she is alone and there would be nobody around to help her. Spielberg hints at a shark, for example; the buoy or when Chrissie floats down under the water. Both of these look like a shark’s fin when the audience first see them but at a second glance the audience realises that they aren’t a shark. When the camera switches to the shark’s POV the music from the start of the movie, the shark’s signature music, begins to play but it has a few playful notes played by a flute.
The camera zooms in on the silhouette of Chrissie from under the water to show that she could be mistaken for a seal. When the camera switches back to the surface the audience realise that she couldn’t see under water which shows how dangerous the attacker is and how innocent Chrissie is. When the shark attacks Chrissie the shark only takes her legs and starts shaking her about, to pull her apart. There is a sense of mystery because the audience still don’t know the attacker is a shark and because the audience doesn’t see what size it is they don’t know how dangerous it is.
The audience also fear the shark because they don’t know what it is, this creates tension. The audience also wants to see what the shark looks like; this makes them want to watch the rest of the movie. When the attack pauses the camera shows the boy slumped on the beach oblivious to the fact that the girl is being attacked. This shows that Chrissie is isolated from the rest of the world because nobody knows what is happening to her. The audience feels sorry for her because she died alone. After the attack there is a silence and it make life seem similar to how it was before.
The audience also feels quite shocked because an innocent, helpless girl was killed by a shark. At the end of the scene it is as if nothing has happened and the dangerous monsters lair has tuned back to the safe sea. The calming susurration of the sea could calm the audience and help them get over the attack. Spielberg leaves the water almost empty at the start of this scene because it shows the audience that there aren’t a lot of things that could attract a shark. Spielberg uses a simultaneous track and zooms on the boy, Alex, to set him up as a potential victim.
We find out the boy’s name to make the attack more personal and humanises him. In this shot the sea is in the top corner so Spielberg continues to make the audience aware of the sea. When the camera tracks the boy and shows a close up of Brody’s face, he is trying to not look tense but there still is a look of concentration on his face. This also makes the audience feel tense because they are waiting for something to happen. The camera keeps on showing potential victims, like a dog who has its stick thrown into the water for him.
Spielberg shows that there are more and more people that could be victims are going into the water. The camera switches between the people in the water to show the audience all the disturbances which people are causing in the water which could attract the shark. This continues to make the audience tense because they believe that the shark could appear at any time. Spielberg makes the audience believe a shark is going to attack on a number of occasions, for example when the man in the black camp swims towards, for example; when there is a log shot of a man swimming with a black cap on the audience believes it is a shark.
A sunburnt man talks to Broody and while they see the back of this man the audience believes there is going to be a shark attack. The camera switches between this shot and a close up of the sunburnt man’s face with the sea to one side. This allows the audience to see some of the people in the water and releases some of the tension. As this is happening there is a slight build up of background noise which continues until before the attack. When the boys run into the water slashing it shows that there are even more people causing disturbances in the water, and this creates more tension for the audience.
When the dog disappears the audience becomes tenser because there is a lot going on in the background and a lot of commotion. When the audience can see the legs under the water, from the POV of the shark, they know the attack is imminent. The audience has a great amount of tense which increases as the shark gets closer to the boy’s legs. The camera moves to the surface and you get a glimpse of the sharks fin. This releases some of the tension in the audience because they now know it is a shark. When Brody sees the attack the camera zooms in on him and distorts the background.
This shot can cause tension in the audience. Brody realises that there has been an attack and tries to get everybody out of the water. As the film continues Brody argues with the mayor, to keep the beaches closed until the shark is caught. The mayor wants to keep the beaches open because 4th of July, the busiest time of the year, is near. This creates tension in the audience because they know that the shark will be attracted by the people in the water. Later on the mayor gets a man to go in the water with his family to get people to go into the water.
When everybody is in the water the audience knows there is going to be an attack. At this point there is no music; all you see is the sharks fin. As the movie continues the fin is replaced by barrels floating above the water, which adds comedy but at the same time tension. I believe that the scariest part of the film is when Hooper is diving under water looking at a damaged boat. The audience assumes that the boat has been damaged by the shark because Hooper said that they where in the sharks territory and this makes the audience think that Hooper is going to be attacked by the shark.
While under water Hooper finds a shark tooth embedded in the hull of the boat. The audience is expecting the shark to attack Hooper but instead you see a head rolling out of the boat from Hooper’s POV. There are a few short sharp notes and these scares the audience because the music and the rolling head are unexpected. In many parts of the film Spielberg adds humour to remove tension, one of the parts where Spielberg adds humour is when two men try to catch the shark with a piece of meat attached to a big hook.
They tie the hook to the pier that they are on and when the shark tries to get away it pulls the pier and a man with it. The reason that Spielberg releases the tension is so that the audience gets tenser than before. Spielberg creates tension throughout the film in many different ways. He uses camera angles for example, the POV of the shark, to scare the audience and sharp string music. This music creates tension in the audience which can help scare the audience because it is usually unexpected.