Despite a notable but effective change in story emphasis, Jaws 2 is a worthy successor in horror, suspense and terror to its 1975 smash progenitor.
The Peter Benchley characters of offshore island police chief Roy Scheider, loyal spouse Lorraine Gary, temporizing mayor Murray Hamilton and Gee-whiz deputy Jeffrey Kramer are used as the adult pegs for the very good screenplay. The targets of terror, and the principal focus of audience empathy, are scores of happy teenagers.
So strong is the emphasis on adolescent adrenalin that Jaws 2 might well be described as the most expensive film ($20 million) that American International Pictures never made.
Suffice to say that the story again pits Scheider’s concern for safety against the indifference of the town elders as evidence mounts that there’s another great white shark out there in the shallow waters. Ever-more complicated teenage jeopardy leads to the climactic showdown with a buried cable.