How Does the Director Stephen Spielberg Use Filmic Techniques to Build Suspense and Tension in the Opening Sequence of the Film ‘Jaws’?

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How does the director Stephen Spielberg use filmic techniques to build suspense and tension in the opening sequence of the film ‘Jaws’?

The 1975 summer blockbuster ‘Jaws’ based on the best selling novel by Peter Benchley

The film opens with a chilling black screen and the non-digetic sound of little bubbles popping in the distance. This automatically gives the impression that the audience is underwater. The black screen also makes the audience feel nervous about what is happening around us as the darkness plays with humans’ worse fear, the unknown. As the first title appears on the jet black screen with a contrasting white font the infamous theme tune begins with a slow, deep, ominous non-digetic sound. As the different titles appear upon the screen the nerve racking theme tune starts to speed up and gain volume which tells us that it is getting closer or ready to attack. As soon as the black screen disappears a panning shot becomes all the audience knows. The audience is now the beast, the underwater creature, as is lurks among the reads at the sea bed. The murky water seems to be the normality to this unknown beast but makes the audience feel uneasy as it is difficult to see what is ahead. As the creature continues to stay at the bottom of the sea it implies it is hiding or hunting but as the water dims the audiences’ view, it is not clear what it is hiding from or what its prey is. Just as the audience starts to become comfortable with the screen the title emerges in a bold white font. ‘Jaws’, this is defiantly the biggest factor of the audience’s fear as the name tells us that the creature has big teeth.

Stephen Spielberg used a variety of techniques which build suspense throughout the film but the most prominent and effective of these is his use of music and sound. The most well known sound of this film is the terrifying theme tune which haunts the audience as the as the shark’s presence becomes visible. Throughout the film this theme continuously...
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