Is It A Horror Film? - Jaws (1975)

Updated: Jun 30, 2020

It's that time of year again where the beaches begin to fill up with unsuspecting teenagers and families trying to catch a nice tan and some ocean waves. Little did they know, there's something lurking in the distance, waiting to prey on their nativity. (Yes, I'm talking about COVID-19).

But Covid isn't the only danger waiting for them in those shallow waters. There's been a longstanding debate regarding whether or not Spielberg's classic monster feature is indeed a horror film, and frankly I don't know why.

Jaws, is without a doubt, a horror flick.

Even though it's categorized as Adventure, Thriller on IMDB, Action & Adventure, Drama, Mystery & Suspense on Rotten Tomatoes and just simply Thriller on Wikipedia, Jaws has all the makings of a horror film.

Scary villain: check ✔

Body count: check ✔✔

Blood & gore: check ✔✔

Eerie music: check ✔✔✔✔

Cheesy sequels with a massive drop in quality: ✔✔✔✔✔✔✔✔✔✔✔

So why the debate?

45 years after its release, Jaws is still known as the film that terrified audiences and kept people off the beaches. Hell, I still never step foot in the ocean without having Bruce at the back of my mind. But forget the shark anxiety, the film also has a notoriously strange history off screen such as being known to induce stress in movie goers, causing psychological disorders and even the unsolved murder of a mysterious extra.

With animatronics constantly breaking down and an overblown budget, Spielberg took a hint from Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho, making Jaws one of the first films to really employ the technique of suggesting the antagonist off screen via POV shots matched with a tense score (thank you, John Williams). This has now become a horror film staple, being used in most slasher films to date.

If you're still not convinced that Jaws is a horror movie, there are a couple of legitimate jumpscares in the film. [SPOILERS] Remember the scene when Hooper discovers the bloated corpse of Ben Gardner? I've seen many jumpscares in my life, especially jumpscare: the movie (Lights Out), but that one still spooks me every time. It's almost on par with the ending of Friday the 13th (you know what I'm talking about).

Anyway... If you still disagree, I urge you to give the film a re-watch. There's a reason Jaws terrified people of the water for over 45 years and counting.

Leave a comment if you want to argue about it and follow us everywhere @screechernet for new posts and updates.

And stay out of the damn water.


Recent Posts

See All