Jaws

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Jaws

Is there such a thing as a perfect film? One that knows what it wants to achieve and does it, flawlessly, artfully and intelligently? If so, then ‘Jaws’ is as good a candidate as any. Thirty-seven years on (and reissued in a new HD print), this tale of an island community terrorised by a killer shark still feels timeless and terrifying. The characterisation is precise and acutely observed (it’s one of the great guys-on-a-mission flicks), the dialogue is witty and wise, and the plot fits together like a finely crafted watch. The performances – not just leads, but the kids, townsfolk and the grief-stricken mother too – are impeccable. Best of all is Steven Spielberg’s direction: the camera moves like a predatory animal, gliding eerily across the surface of the vast Atlantic, creating sequences of almost unbearable suspense (never mind that the scariest scene was shot in a swimming pool). It’s no wonder a generation of holidaymakers still thinks twice before stepping into the water.

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Zach L

Jaws isn't entrenched in metaphors or film school pretension—it's the original, crowd-pleasing blockbuster thriller, and it's still terrifying decades after its release. Spielberg took a deep-rooted fear (a monster in the sea, a la Moby Dick) and somehow managed to make it even more frightening, buoyed by performances that drive the tense plot forward and an iconic soundtrack. It's the rare movie that might make you think twice about that beach vacation.