Review : Jaws 4 (1987)

Directed by Joseph Sargent and released in 1987, Jaws : The Revenge was made solely upon the request of Universal’s owner to make money, which the studio desesperately needed at that time. With that in mind, it is not surprising that the film was destined to be a failure.

After a tragedy in the family, Ellen Brody, Chief Brody’s widow, goes to the Bahamas to spend time with her son, Michael. Michael is now a marine scientist working towards his PhD, which his mother disapproves of since it means he spends time on the ocean. When a monstruous shark appears, Ellen Brody is convinced the creature is targetting her family.

I cannot begin this review without addressing the stupidity of the plot. The shark travels from Amity Island to the Bahamas to stalk and attempt to murder the Brody family. You read that correctly : this film is about a stalker / serial killer shark ! And how the characters come to the conclusion that the sea creature is specifically after them is beyond me.

The characters’ motivations make no sense and are in absolute contradiction with their past experience. For instance, Ellen Brody says several times that she doesn’t want any member of the family to go into the water. Yet, she still in the beach house right by the ocean. Michael, who faced deadly sharks a few times before, spends countless hours on the ocean, diving in the deep…and studying sharks ! In what world such behavior makes any sense ? Apparently, three traumatic encounters with sharks are not enough to keep them away from the shore or out of the water.

The shark is atrocious. It looks like an oversized, permanently open-mouthed, plastic toy. And the attacks are plain awful. Either they are edited so fast that you barely see anything apart from close-ups on the monster’s teeth, or you see too much of the shark, which is so badly designed and animated that it is beyond hilarious. It is a lose-lose situation because whether you don’t see enough or you clearly see the action, it simply never works.

Jaws : The Revenge also has no shame in rehashing scenes from the original Jaws. The most notable one (asides from small variations on iconic quotes) is the scene in which the kid mimics the father. Except this time, it has zero emotional impact (and the music is comical and fails at creating the atmosphere of the scene).

Despite the low quality of Jaws : The Revenge, I will admit that, having heard so many bad things about the film, I was pleasantly surprised because I was expecting much worse. The acting is overall good and the climax is corny and illogical but at least a bit entertaining.

Though Jaws : The Revenge wasn’t as bad as I anticipated, it is indeed a poorly made movie. The only purpose of this film was to make money off the Jaws name and its motivation does show through its bad script and the lack of effort put into creating the shark. Obviously, I do not recommend this fourth installment.


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