Jaws: The Revenge – Film vs Book

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We’ve all had a good laugh over the years at the so bad it’s good ‘Jaws: The Revenge’. 

The 1987 film directed by Joe Sargeant has become a cult classic for horror fans now, but is the novelisation any better?

Well I’d say marginally yes, although the storyline is much changed from the film version. Hank Searls who wrote the novel version of Jaws 2 returns, and gives us a deeper mythology which is only hinted at during the film.

One of Michael Brody’s lines from the film,

“You can’t believe that voodoo, sharks don’t pick out a person,” certainly forms the crux of the story.

This is through the eyes of voodoo man Papa Jacques who targets the Brody family living in the Bahamas after previous trouble with Michael, which becomes the springboard for a new series of attacks.

Ellen Brody is just as whacky in the book but this time her paranoia is almost justified, whereas in the film it borders on laughable.

A side plot involving Michael Caine’s Hoagie and an attempted drug bust adds more layers to his character and provides a bit of relief from shark attacks.

Where the book falls down is the POV’s of the shark, which are written clumsily. Having read 3 of the MEG series by Steve Alten, I’d say his writing of a shark as a character is the closest we’ve come since Benchley’s seminal story.

Also Sean’s death is merely skimmed across, whereas it felt like it carried more emotional clout in the film.

The finale remains similiar, with no roaring unfortunately. By all accounts Searls novel of Jaws 2 is closer to where John Hancock wanted to take the story before he was fired from the project back in 1978, so this may be a logical next step of reading.

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