Sometimes that shark looks right at ya. Right into your eyes. And the thing about a shark is he’s got lifeless eyes. Black eyes. Like a doll’s eyes. When he comes at ya, he doesn’t even seem to be livin’… ’til he bites ya, and those black eyes roll over white and then… ah then you hear that terrible high-pitched screamin’. The ocean turns red, and despite all your poundin’ and your hollerin’ those sharks come in and… they rip you to pieces.A movie about a shark stalking its prey, devouring them piece by piece, with nary a noise nor expression. You bet your ass it has its scary moments.
- The iconic tune of whenever the shark appears is unnerving in itself. The happy jingle about half way in doesn't help
- The famous poster of the menacing shark heading towards the unsuspecting victim is very chilling.
- Just think about the fact that this film alone is responsible for making people afraid of going into the sea because of what could be lurking below the surface. People were even afraid to go into swimming pools. It's considered one of the scariest horror films ever for a good reason.
- The film encouraged such fear of sharks (or just made hunting them look cool) that several species have been driven to endangered status due to overfishing. Peter Benchley, the original author, even said that he regrets writing the book for this reason.
- The opening scene of the film where the girl in the water is killed. You never see the shark - only its perspective and her reaction, while hearing the amazing score by John Williams. Hearing her scream, struggle to breathe, and try to seek refuge on the buoy makes you imagine what the shark is doing to her under the surface...
- Bravo named it the scariest scene in film history for a reason.
- What makes it even worse is, as she's screaming for help, the guy she was going to go skinny dipping with is falling asleep on the shore and completely unaware of what's happening to her. Granted, there's not a whole lot he could have done, but it's still horrible.
- The bit where the two fishermen try to catch the shark. The dock they're on collapses, dragging one of the men out to sea. As he shakes himself loose and begins to swim back to shore, the piece of dock that the shark is still attached to stops and turns around and begins pursuing him. What makes this moment so terrifying is that at this point, we get a Theme Music Power-Up. Only his friend's constant encouragement of "Take my word for it, don't look back! Swim, Charlie, swim!" saves his life. You can almost sense the shark's disappointment that his prey has eluded him.
- It's a short moment, but as the two fishermen are trying to catch the shark, Brody is flipping through a book about sharks. The first couple of pictures aren't too bad, showing mostly just shots of sharks swimming or sharks that were caught, but the last few photos are real pictures of shark attack victims, including a lingering shot of a man with a chunk of flesh the size of basketball ripped out of his side, with his hip protruding from the gaping hole of where the rest of him used to be, and a man (possibly a corpse) who is missing almost all of the flesh of his leg from the knee up.
- When the dog disappears, with the very strong implication that he's become shark food. It can be very unpleasant for people who really like dogs. It doesn't help that right after the above happens, there's the attack on Alex Kitner. There's perhaps the most distressing thing about the implied death of the dog. NO-ONE NOTICED. As horrible a thought as it might sound (especially to pet lovers), if someone had actually sighted that the dog had been taken by the shark, it would have given them some warning. And young Alex might have been spared his fate as a result. But no. A silent predator sneaks in, takes someone's cherished pet, and then takes someone's son.
- The second major attack from the titular shark. A peaceful day, everyone's minding their own business, shouts of joy drowning each other out. Then, slowly, we focus on Brody's dawning horror, as we cut between him and a lone child, panicking beyond belief, bobbing up and down in the water IN A GEYSER OF HIS OWN BLOOD. IN A PG MOVIE. Then, the blissful calm turns to wary alarm as everyone on the shore starts rising up, murmuring in wonder and confusion. Then, all of a sudden, the child's screams stop, and we see a woman, presumably the child's mother, asking "Alex?" warily before it cuts from her to an image of a torn flotation device, surrounded by tomato-red water before fading to black.
- The search for Ben Gardner aboard his boat is one of the most frightening jump scares ever put to film. When Hooper goes into the ocean to investigate the hull of Gardner's seemingly abandoned boat, he discovers a shark tooth embedded in one of the holes of the boat. When he takes a closer look into the hole, the severed head of Gardner(missing an eye) suddenly shows up with a terrifying shriek, scaring both Hooper and the audience. Director Steven Spielberg added that scene during post-production because he wanted to add "one last scream" into the film. And it was definitely effective!
- The scene where the shark attacks one of the victims riding a paddle-boat followed by the sight of the poor man's severed leg drifting in the ocean.
- Sharks on the whole are misunderstood and nonviolent creatures. However, Jaws was based on one very atypical shark in real life that brutally killed four people over the course of five days. So, a creature whose species isn't normally given to murder goes on a killing spree... wait, doesn't that make it even WORSE?
- The scene where a disgruntled Brody dumps chum in the water and the shark makes a sudden appearance. They definitely should've gotten a bigger boat... This moment is even more powerful by the soundtrack - or lack thereof. All throughout the movie John Williams has been training you that Shark = Music and that No Music = No Shark. Every attack, we get Williams leaning hard on the string section and fake out moments like the boys with the cardboard fin are scoreless. So later in the movie, it's been a while without an attack, the audience has gotten relaxed, Brody is throwing out chum and suddenly BAM! SHARK! Our first good look at the beast, and there was no "okay, here comes the monster" music. It completely catches the audience off guard, creating one of the most memorable moments in the movie, and it's all because the soundtrack sucker-punched you.
- Quint describing the Indianapolis disaster. Because that really happened. Sure, some of the finer details are wrong, but potentially hundreds of people really were Eaten Alive. One of the most chilling scenes and it doesn't involve any action at all. After he told his bonechilling story, you can hear a haunting sound. Quint explains it's just a whale, but it's still creepy.
- The scene in which the shark begins ramming the side of the Orca was distinctly frightening.
- The scene where Hooper is in the cage, watching the shark slowly inch closer and closer. It passes the cage, seeming not to care. Hooper readies his spear. The shark slams onto the cage from the back, just behind Hooper. The worst part is that, when the shark keeps lunging towards Hooper, you honestly can't tell if it's a real shark or Bruce.
- Quint slowly being killed by the shark is both nauseating and horrifying. The experienced shark-hunter slowly slides down the length of his boat, incapable of preventing his descent. We see the shark's teeth biting right his stomach and all the blood comes out painting the water red. In the last moment you can also hear his spine breaking. His screams of agony add to the horror.
- Everything after Quint's death, imagine being alone on the mast of a sinking boat, and knowing the only thing saving you from being devoured alive is a one in a million shot. And unlike the previous attacks where the shark leaves you alone for awhile, the shark rams through the side of the sinking boat at Brody very unexpectedly.
- How about this lost scene? In it, the man from the boat in the estuary is being dragged along the surface of the water by the shark as it goes after Brody's son Michael. We see Michael being pushed up against the dying man and shoved around in the water and it seems like the shark is trying to find a way to fit Michael in its mouth, too. Then, bleeding out in the shark's mouth, the poor guy manages to push Michael out of harm's way before being dragged underwater and ripped to pieces. Spielberg supposedly cut the scene for being too violent and horrifying, and it's not hard to see why.
- The attack on Alex Kitner was originally going to be even more gruesome and terrifying. Originally, it was planned that the shark would rise from the depths and gobble up Alex in plain sight. It was scrapped for being too graphic, and the film went with a Nothing Is Scarier approach where the attack isn't clearly shown. However, the scene was filmed at some point, and there's a truly creepy picture showing what it would have looked like.
- At the beginning of the ride, it is revealed that the shark has returned, as it sinks and eats the passengers of another boat. You get to hear the not-so pleasant sound of that boat's skipper begging for help and then screaming over the radio transmission.
- There's also a scene where the boat enters a dark boathouse, which suddenly begins to crumble apart due to the shark attempting to break in. It succeeds, pops out of the water, and lunges right at you. All in the dark.
- Additionally, upon entering the boathouse, you are first treated to the sight of some gory pieces of flesh from another shark lying on the floor.
- After the boathouse, the shark lunges right out again to the left of the boat, creating a rather effective jump scare. In the original version of the ride, it actually bit into the boat and dragged it a couple of feet before the skipper eventually regained control.
- The ride's gruesome ending where the shark accidentally bites a power line, electrocuting and then completely frying it. You even see its roasted remains, until it reveals that it's actually still alive when it makes one final lunge towards the boat before being killed by the blast of the skipper's grenade launcher.
- The ride's original ending was arguably even more graphic. The skipper would shoot a grenade right into the shark's mouth. The shark would then go back underwater, only to explode mere seconds later, leaving behind a pool of blood and pieces of skin and flesh.