Thanks to David L. Wilkins for allowing us to repost his brilliant prose poem celebrating 40 years of Jaws.
Moonlight glinting off a calm sea and idyllic dunes isn’t the stuff of nightmares, and few sounds are as tranquil as the gentle ringing of a buoy bell. Similar thoughts might have drifted through the girl’s mind in the moments before an unseen primeval force jerked her sharply downward. We’ll never know the shock-induced images that raced through her mind as she was vaulted upward, and was shaken violently side to side. Her world was a shrinking point of light, as our collective nightmare began.
Going to the beach the next day held all new meaning, just as sitting in the theater the night before had altered our perception of filmic entertainment. With Jaws, Spielberg changed us a little bit, just as Hitchcock had in 1960, with Psycho. I like to think that similar cinematic revelations lie ahead, but I’m not sure they can, or will.