What can I say about Jaws that hasn't already been said by every horror critic under the sun? It's a masterclass in suspense. Steven Spielberg was still developing his craft in 1975, but it's hard to tell just from watching this film. Every shot is methodical. Every audio cue is well-timed. Every attack sequence is unspooled with sober realism and constricted precision. One of the reasons why Jaws is such an effective horror film is because it focuses squarely on characterization.
Roy Scheider is strong as Chief Brody, the guy responsible for keeping the waters safe. He expertly portrays Brody's internal strife. He doesn't know how seriously to take the first shark attack, and he wants his kids to enjoy the coastal festivities, but there are unanswered questions lingering in his head. It was refreshing to see a conflicted lead character, even on the fifth viewing. Of course, Richard Dreyfuss brings a welcomed facetiousness to the film as a giddy oceanographer. He plays Hooper loose, but he pulls it together for the grave scenes of maritime devastation.
I skipped on the synopsis, for you should already know what Jaws is all about. You should have already seen it. Admittedly, it doesn't hit me as hard as it did when I was a hatchling. The jump scares still do the trick (the "floating head" bit gets me every damn time), but overall, I feel desensitized to the sense of wonderment that Spielberg devised with his "killer shark" opus. Don't get me wrong; I still love Jaws. I hope to cover the sequels in the coming month. Robert Z'Dar says, "This flick reminded me too much of my home movies!"