I remember watching Jaws when I was a kid, it was probably the scariest movie I had seen at the time, other than Watership Down (that still gives me nightmares today)! I was a little too young to fully comprehend everything about the film, but my understanding was that water equals sharks and that meant death. At this time in my life I lived a stone's throw away from the coast, I could even see the beach from my bedroom. I remember being terrified every time my mam suggested going down to the beach, the film messed me up for a long time. I was even scared to go to the local swimming pool worried about seeing a giant fin heading my way.

This was my first voyage into the horror genre, which, in my teenage years, became a bit of an obsession for me; for some reason I liked the feeling of being scared! It's probably the same reason I'm a huge fan of roller coasters and theme parks - that adrenaline rush, but also knowing I was safe. That's where Jaws for me is a little different. It felt more real than most horror films, and I didn't feel safe watching it. I got the feeling that if I went to the beach and splashed around I might not get back out of the water. Plus, that sound never leaves your head. I bet you can hear it now, just thinking about the film. "Dun, dun..." is such a simple way of building the tension in the film because you don't even need to see the shark to know something is wrong. This is part of the magic of the film, because the shark doesn't actually appear on screen till 1hr and 21mins into the 2hr movie. This film is a great example of what you don't see, is actually more scary than what you do see. This movie was released in 1975, so it's almost 46 years this film has been around and around 30 years since I first saw it, but it still scares the life out of me. I enjoy it more now for different reasons.

The cast in the film are amazing. Everyone plays their part, my personal highlights are the relationship between Richard Dreyfuss as Hopper and Robert Shaw as Quint. They bicker like an old married couple as they both have polar opposite views on the world but by the end of the film they build a respect for each other. They might not ever agree with each other but a friendship grew. There was also a beautifully played out scene between Roy Scheider’s Brody and his son, where Brody is stressed and worn out and his son sits opposite him on the kitchen table. He starts to mimic his father and as Brody notices you can feel the pure joy and innocence in this scene. It makes Brody more likeable and makes him so much more human.

After watching the film again recently I have a different outlook on what happens. The film's tone and message has more in common with what's going on in our day-to-day lives than I expected. You can see a connection between the Great White shark or Bruce (as he was named on set) and the Coronavirus. The way the townspeople of Amity couldn't stay away from the beach even though there was a killer on the loose, and even how the mayor was more concerned about losing business and being unpopular than doing what was right. This reflects a lot on my own personal opinion on how this government has handled the whole pandemic. I never thought I would get political over Jaws! It seems to me that the main villain in the film isn't the shark, who was just doing what sharks do! But, the Mayor has blood on his hands. It makes you wonder if they had stayed away from the beach and not given Bruce the attention, would he have stuck around or maybe moved on? I know that doesn't make for a scary or even good film, but it does make you think.

I'm sure other films before this one used jump scares in them but Jaws perfected them. It doesn't over-use them or rely on them throughout the film. The one that I can still picture today is when Hopper discovers the decapitated head from a fisherman they came across, and I flew off the sofa and grabbed the closest pillow to hide behind. From that moment I watched the film from behind the pillow only daring to peek out from time to time. When Hopper decided to go into the shark tank, I think everyone and their dog knew this wasn't a good idea, but I kinda wanted him to go down too. I wanted that view of the shark's world where man doesn't belong. This single scene in the film is the reason I have an irrational fear of deep, dark water. You couldn’t pay me to go in a shark cage, not even for a million pound.

A few years ago I was lucky enough to go on holiday for my 30th birthday and we went to Universal Studios in Florida. I know they have since closed this attraction down and if you haven't had the chance to take a ride on the old Jaws ride then, I'm sorry, you have missed out on an amazing experience! Even while waiting in line, you can read all the signs and notices offering all the different experiences and services which were offered to the people of Amity Island in the film. It was cheesy and silly but it was so much fun, and the animatronic shark was really well done. At times the explosions feel a little too close for comfort, but this is all part of the excitement. I still remember the look of joy on my wife's face when we got off the boat. We were soaked to the bone but I would have to say it was my favourite ride in the park. I was disappointed when we returned a few years later to find the ride had been shut down and they were updating the park, moving away from the old attraction. I believe this was a mistake, I still think after all this time people love Jaws. You never know they might bring it back.

Alas, like a lot of things in Hollywood, they milked the film franchise and made really poor sequels. They even made the 3rd film in 3D, before it was cool and popular, but the quality just got worse and worse. Even the great Michael Caine couldn't save the final Jaws film; the premise was a shark believed to be a relative from the original film and taking revenge on the family left behind by Brody, systematically killing each family member. The Jaws franchise had firmly moved into the B-movie category. The premise has been copied many times over the years from films like Lake Placid, The Meg, and Deep Blue Sea. These films are all great fun l, but none have come close to the quality of Jaws.

I wish I could say that I'm not still scared of the sea. Even now before dipping my toe into the water I have a look around to see if there is any dark shadows, giant fins or if I can hear the sound, DUN DUN...

Thanks for reading :)