12 Days of Terror (2004)

A shark terrorized a New Jersey shoreline for twelve days during the summer of 1916. These events eventually led Peter Benchley to write the novel that would, in time, inspire the first summer blockbuster – Steven Spielberg’s Jaws (1975), and one of my all time favorite horror films. Standing up against the strange but inescapable truth of the historical record and the cult following of Jaws – loyal to this day – it would seem that 12 Days of Terror would be swamped by its competition. Especially for a made-for-TV movie, with the subsequent budget, actors, and special effects one can come to expect from such a project. And yet, despite all its competition, 12 Days of Terror puts forth a solid effort. The acting is a bit too melodramatic for my tastes, but the costumes are wonderful, the writing acceptable, and this movie really does work as a period piece. It’s clear that a great deal of research went into making this movie feel like it takes place in 1916. On that note, I cannot praise 12 Days of Terror enough. It manages to include a great deal of world-building and subtext in small but effective ways – a feat that many large budget films with similar topics simply fail to address in the first place.

Whether intentional or not, the cinematography and set design work as a homage to Spielberg’s earlier work – 12 Days of Terror and Jaws share a similar aesthetic and composition style. In other films it might come off as copying, but 12 Days of Terror makes the comparison feel like genuine tribute – attempting to expand the legend and feel of Jaws without creating an entirely new world.

On the other end of things, the acting in 12 Days of Terror isn’t great, the characters don’t have much in the way of story arcs, and what were likely intended as perfectly reasonable lines become soap-opera like clichés in the delivery. It’s not a great movie, but 12 Days of Terror packs a heavy bunch for a film created solely for TV. The costumes are great, the set design is some of the best I’ve seen, and the plot isn’t half bad. It’s no Jaws, but it’s a fun ride nonetheless.

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One thought on “12 Days of Terror (2004)

  1. Hi Emma I am going to suggest another tag that you add to all you review that could build your twitter following. #filmmaking Might also want to follow these people Cinefilles @Cinefilles

    Vivian Johnson, Ph.D Associate Dean/Professor School of Education, Hamline University MS.A1720, 1536 Hewitt Ave., St. Paul, MN 55104 @VivianPJohnson

    “We don’t receive wisdom; we must discover it for ourselves after a journey that no one can take for us or spare us.” Marcel Proust

    On Tue, Apr 26, 2016 at 4:58 PM, finalgirlfight wrote:

    > ejohnsonrivard posted: “https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RFvk8pjWZMc A > shark terrorized a New Jersey shoreline for twelve days during the summer > of 1916. These events eventually led Peter Benchley to write the novel that > would, in time, inspire the first summer blockbuster – Ste” >

    Like

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