The Bad Christmas Movie Challenge: Jaws The Revenge [1987]


Any movie that is set at Christmas is technically a Christmas movie by default, we have seen some wonderful examples with Lethal Weapon, Die Hard and every single film written by Shane Black. On the flip side of that, we have the terrible movies that just so happened to be set at Christmas, and it the bottom of that very barrel I am scraping right now with Jaws The Revenge.

After the lows of Jaws 3-D, who knew that Universal were capable of making a worse sequel than that ill-advised foray into the third dimension. Jaws The Revenge is an insult to the franchise, to filmmaking and even to Michael Caine as he was unable to attend the Academy Awards that year to accept his Oscar for Hannah and Her Sisters because he was shooting Jaws 4.

Chief Martin Brody (Roy Scheider) has passed away from a heart attack, his widow Ellen (Lorraine Gary) believes this was caused as a result of his fear of sharks. In the run up to Christmas, Ellen plans a big family gathering although her two sons ignore her obvious diminishing mental state, and her pleas to “stay out of the water” go unheeded. The youngest Brody son (Sean) followed in his father’s footsteps as a cop and one night while patrolling the harbour a great white shark attacks him. Rather than waste your time recanting the feeble plot, the basic premise has the widow Brody having a breakdown as she becomes fixated on the idea that the shark is out for revenge.

Jaws The Revenge was made in 1987, 12 years after Spielberg’s classic yet somehow the effects and camerawork of the final Jaws are desperately weak by comparison. Bruce (the shark from the original) was a labour of love, he might have kept sinking to the bottom of the ocean, but his limited screen time was hauntingly effective. Jaws The Revenge offers you plenty of glimpses of the shark, but it simply doesn’t look real. The climatic showdown between the widow Brody and Jaws the fourth is laughable. Stabbing the shark with the mast of the boat causes the bloody thing to explode?? WTF!

Fun (slightly depressing) Fact, Jaws 4 was completed in just over nine months, that’s everything from final script, prep, production and all that editing.

Michael Caine has fun in the role of loveable pilot Hoagie, although he does occasionally have an expression on his face that screams “has it really come to this?” As a sequel, Jaws The Revenge is woeful, as a Christmas movie it is even more disappointing as there’s not an ounce of Christmas cheer. Is there nothing that malevolent shark can’t ruin!

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