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Film / Avalanche Sharks

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Avalanche Sharks is a Direct to Video B-Movie that follows a ski resort being plagued by sharks. Sharks that are somehow burrowing through the snow and eating anyone they come across. As more people disappear, the local sheriff, and various friends and relatives of the victims, begin delving into the matter, against the wishes of the local resort owner and mayor. The framing device is a man in a hospital explaining everything that went on to a nurse who is specifically noted to be a figment of his imagination. Serves as a Spiritual Successor to a similar film, Sand Sharks.


Avalanche Sharks provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Adapted Out: Some versions of the movie omitted the scenes with the man in the hospital bed and the nurse.
  • Ambiguously Bi: Jenna is seen eying guys with her friends and acting a bit flirty a few times but has a lot of scenes which could indicate an attraction to girls but also have alternate explanations. She makes a toast to "Girls Gone Wild" at one point (although it's unclear if she was serious, or meant that in a sexual sense if she was), holds hands with Lacy once (albeit while their going through snow and a little off-balance), spends a lot of time in the hot tub with just two other girls in bikinis (although Lacy simply makes a toast to her "best friends, ever" implying a lack of romantic feelings at least on her part), and shows a clear lack of interest when Randy flirts with her (although this is implied to be because of a crude double innuendo Randy made).
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  • Ambiguous Situation: Assuming any of the story actually did happen, the climax and how many of the characters did die in it seem especially suspect due to the Lampshade Hanging about the Unreliable Narrator.
  • Badass Beard: Duffy has one and is the toughest character in the movie with the possible exception of Wade.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Wade (who is eleven years older than his missing brother) shows a lot of this, as does Carol in regards to her missing cousin.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Kind of. Lacy, Karla and Jenna, the three girls who hang around the jacuzzi are a blonde, a dark-haired brunette, and brown-haired brunette whose hair has a slight red tint to it under certain light.
  • But Liquor Is Quicker Referenced but not actually shown (as scenes set the next morning establish that said characters didn't spend the night together) after Jenna refers to Randy as an Abhorrent Admirer. Carol comments that after a few drinks he might not seem that bad.
  • Casanova Wannabe: Randy and Dale.
  • Characters Dropping Like Flies: It's rare for ten minutes to pass without multiple victims.
  • Chew Toy: Dale, both literally and figuratively, throughout the last fifteen minutes of the film.
  • Clock King: Randy is introduced when a couple of friends grouse over his schedule for the trip out there, where he's gone to great lengths to list every possible thing that they'll be doing, which covers incredibly minute and barely distinct things that will only take about a minute and allows no flexibility for rest stops. About the only time he can relax more and avoid this obsession with punctuality is when he's trying to impress pretty girls.
  • Coattail-Riding Relative: A minor example, but Ross tagged along with his cousin Carol to get into the party at the ski resort, something they joke about some.
  • Contagious Cassandra Truth: Old Duffy is widely dismissed as a crazy old hermit by the local sheriff, ski patrol people and spring-breakers when he shouts out warnings about sharks in the snow. When the sheriff is convinced the sharks are real by his wife, and some of the spring-breakers find evidence of attacks while looking for the brother of one and the cousin of another. None of them are given much credence by the local mayor, ski patrol man and resort owner. The spring-breakers try to warn some of their friends on the mountain right before another attack, with only one girl listening to them and leaving in time, while even the ski patrol guy finally starts believing after seeing an attack, but its difficult getting the lift operator to start sending people down right before an avalanche starts.
  • Crippling Over Specialization: Mike claims to only be good at ski-jumping when his girlfriend Barb teases him for his poor performance cross country skiing.
  • Dirty Old Man:
    • Lars isn't too old, but he's a good deal older than Carol and his hitting on her as she tries to report her cousin missing is somewhat creepy.
    • Downplayed with Duffy. When he first sees Lacy and Jenna wearing skimpy tops he tells his sled dog that "Half a century ago, I would have given them what for" but he never actually hits on or leers any woman up close for the rest of the film.
  • Doomsayer: Duffy, the first person to see the sharks and live (and also someone who saw them the last time they came).
  • Do Not Go Gentle: Duffy goes charging at the sharks firing a shotgun and after being bitten, and hanging from ones mouth, keeps ferociously stabbing it.
  • Flung Clothing: Jenna takes off her shirt and tosses at the sheriff while wearing a bikini bra underneath it in one scene after he jokes about citing her and Lacy for indecent exposure based on how they're already dressed.
  • Genki Girl: Lacy is constantly cheerful and excited about the weekend and tries to brush off anything that could put a damper on the mood. Even seeing an avalanche heading their way simply provokes a The World Is Just Awesome reaction from her.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Four of the five blonde women at the resort (Madison, Carol, Lacy and Diana) are portrayed as decent and caring.
  • Hard-Drinking Party Girl: Lacy, Jenna and Karla are always drinking shots, although the "partying" part is downplayed. Carol also notes at the bonfire that Randy will probably look better after a few drinks while he's smiling at the group, although she isn't actually seen parting and focuses more on finding Ross the next morning.
  • Heroes Love Dogs: Duffy is very devoted to his sled dog team.
  • Hope Spot: Hiro starts putting up totems right as Carol is being chased by sharks, while Wade is also scrambling, yelling out instructions to her and looking for some long distance weapon to help. None of this does anything in time though.
  • Hospital Hottie: The Nurse, who immediately lampshades that she isn't a real nurse but the memory of an actress dressed as one that the storyteller saw on some TV movie.
  • Indian Burial Ground: The totems getting knocked over in an avalanche brings forth the sharks.
  • Insatiable Newlyweds: The sheriff and Diana are pretty affectionate with each other, and have only been married for a few months.
  • Immigrant Patriotism: Lars the ski lodge owner has a French-Canadian accent and a Nordic name, but has an American flag on the wall of his office.
  • Lampshade Hanging: The Nurse isn't afraid to display skepticism about aspects of the story, and point out various Plot Hole's, not to mention the fact that the guy telling it doesn't even appear at all throughout the events he's describing.
  • Language Barrier: Hiro, an Asian skier who doesn't speak English. Lars uses this to his advantage to charge her extra while renting her skis, and Randy uses this to claim to be an Olympic snowboarder to her (not that she seems to understand him).
  • Last Kiss: Wade and Madison have one when they think their about to die, only for the shark to disappear when its totem is straightened out just in time.
  • Lazy Bum: Mike's ideal life is just sitting around, drinking beer and having sex. Dale the ski patrol guy also prefers to just chat up girls, sun himself, and drag his feet whenever it comes to investigating missing skiers.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: Nearly everyone killed by the sharks gets at least a scene or two earlier on, and a lot of people get killed by the sharks. And then there's the main characters, and a few people who just disappear from the plot.
  • Lovable Coward: Carol freaks out whenever the sharks are coming after her and is the main voice against trying to rescue Dale while he is badly injured and surrounded, but she does go out into the woods looking for her cousin when she thinks something happened to him, points out why they shouldn't go after Dale sensibly (he'll just bleed to death from his wounds if they take him into the warmer hut, and there's no obvious way to get past the sharks and bring him in), never selfishly endangers anyone else for her own benefit, and, along with Wade and Diana, does give up a good opportunity to escape by stopping to listen to Dale's pleas for help a bit later.
  • Magical Native American: The last time the sharks appeared a local shaman used magic to get rid of them. Unfortunately, the guy is no longer around for this rodeo.
  • Male Gaze: Randy uses the rear view mirror to glance at the cleavage showing through Becca's tank top on the drive over, and when she falls asleep, keeps shifting the car a little so she slides around. She is annoyed when she wakes up and catches him doing it.
  • Meaningful Name: The woman named Hiro turns out to be the Non-Protagonist Resolver.
  • Mercy Kill: Duffy requests to be shot as a shark is devouring him, and gets his wish.
  • Modesty Towel: Jenna, the one girl from the ski resorts jacuzzi to take Wade and Madison's warning seriously and get out in time to avoid the arriving sharks, spends the rest of her screentime racing around wrapped up in a towel. This is partially because she doesn't have time to put a change of clothes over her bikini and partially for warmth given that it is a ski resort.
  • Morton's Fork: When Dale is being attacked by the sharks, having been bitten, and crying for help, Carol points out that while he will eventually be eaten or freeze to death if they leave him out there, the cold is slowing down his bleeding and he'll bleed to death if they bring him inside. Wade isn't hearing it.
  • My God, You Are Serious: Jenna reacts this way when Wade and Madison try to warn the girls in the hot tub that people are being killed.
    Jenna: Killed as in real life?
  • Never Found the Body: Almost everyone attacked by the sharks either vanishes under the snow or vanishes in a splash of blood (in a couple cases right as a shark is disappearing due to the totems being straightened).
  • Nigh-Invulnerable: Nothing can stop the sharks besides Native American magic, something which is in very short supply at the moment.
  • Non-Protagonist Resolver: the plot is resolved and the titular monsters are stopped not by The Sheriff or his wife, not by Wade, Madison or Carol, not by Old Duffy but a random skier, far away from the range of the attacks, who happens to find the damaged sacred totems, and straighten them back out due to simple curiosity, which appeases the sharks in time to save the last survivors. The Nurse lampshades this incredulously to the narrator.
  • No Name Given: Wade's brother and his friend are only referred to as Hucker and Shredder, which are almost certainly nicknames.
  • Offhand Backhand: Wade does this to his girlfriend to her (and Jenna's) shock when she tries to intervene as he struggles with a ski lift operator whose still sending people up the mountain. It seems to have been purely instinctual and he has a mild My God, What Have I Done? reaction and starts feverishly apologizing.
  • Parting Words Regret: Mike seems pretty torn up by the argument he was having with his girlfriend Barb when she was eaten.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Randy, Jenna, Lacy, Karla and Hiro do a lot to relieve tension during scenes they appear, at least until the last half third of the film.
  • Pretty in Mink: Downplayed, Carol has a fur ski jacket on for the entirety of her screen-time and while fairly pretty is actually one of the least-sexualized women in the movie. Jenna also has on a mirdriff-baring mink vest in her first scene, but she tosses it off after about ten seconds of screen-time.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Dale gets killed after finally showing a little heroism in the climax (not that this stops him from trying to guilt the others into saving him throughout it).
  • Retirony: Dale vows to move somewhere warmer, with no snow if he gets out of this alive a few minutes before being eaten.
  • Screaming Woman: Madison and Carol both have their moments in the climax.
  • Seeking the Missing, Finding the Dead: Madison and Wade (who are looking for Wade's missing brother) and Carol and Randy (who are looking for Carol's missing cousin) don't actually find them, but they do find signs which let them know what happened (goggles belonging to Carol's cousin, and witnessing the sharks attacking someone near where Wade's brother disappeared respectively) that gives them a good enough idea of what happened.
  • Sensual Slavs: Karla of the hot tub girls has a somewhat sultry manner and Eastern European accent.
  • Serendipitous Survival: Becca avoids encountering the sharks at all due to simply going shopping at the resort rather than skiing.
  • Shameless Fanservice Girl:
    • Jenna tosses off her vest at the ski resort and spends a while walking around with just a bikini top.
    Jenna: Everything goes.
    • Becca just wears some swimwear for the car ride to the resort, explicitly telling Lacy she's doing this just for Randy's benefit.
    Becca: I said he can't touch me, not that he can't lust over me.
  • Shark Fin of Doom: There's quite a few of them, and coming out of the snow!
  • The Sheriff: Adam, whose role could best be compared to that of Martin Brody from Jaws except in a supporting role, instead of a leading one.
  • Shoot the Messenger: Referenced when Carol realizes something probably has happened to her cousin Ross.
    Carol: My Grandma's gonna kill me.
  • Sports Hero Backstory: Dale the ski patrol guy sure loves talking about his Olympic bronze medal.
  • Tempting Fate: Lacy and Karla just stand up and laugh when they see an avalanche coming, gushing about what a cool sight it is. Even is a shark hadn't burst through the flor of the hot tub and eaten them, that probably wouldn't have ended well.
  • Ultimate Authority Mayor: The local mayor is apparently capable of firing Adam, an elected official, just because and appointing Dale as the new sheriff.
  • Unreliable Narrator: The story is being told by a person who is never shown interacting with any of the other characters, is talking to an apparent figment of his imagination (who is played by the same actress as one of the victims earlier in the movie), and gets called out on a lot of implausible details (such as why a bunch of survivors couldn't have escaped earlier in a truck that was nearby).
  • The World's Expert on Getting Killed: Adam is anticlimactically swallowed by a shark leaping out of the ground as he stands around shooting early in the climax. Duffy goes out with more style, but no great amount of intelligence a few minutes later.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy:
    • Madison points out that, being somewhat horny seventeen year-olds, Hucker and Shredder might have just left with a girl and not thought to tell them.
    • Lacy and Karla are convinced that it's a Screwball Comedy where the missing person just went home in someone else's car by mistake or keeps missing the person looking for them.
    • Once Lars the resort owner finally begins to accept that something bad is happening to his customers, he's convinced that it must have to do with some Dark Secret of the guy who sold him the resort five years earlier.

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