If I were to tell you that Keith Shaw’s Avalanche Sharks–despite the poster proclaiming ‘Snow Sharks’–wasn’t a very good movie, you’d probably say something to the effect of ‘Duh, it’s about sharks that ‘swim’ though snow, devouring skiers. What about that scenario screams Academy Award to you?’
And I get that, though the movie doesn’t do itself any favors by skipping over what should have been the most interesting part, which is the curse itself.
The sharks aren’t real animals–which is fairly obvious–but a manifestation of a Native American spell cast hundreds of years ago against the people who were trying to take their lands.
The movie ignores this aspect of the story–it’s mentioned as a legend occasionally, but nothing in-depth. It’s almost as if the producers of the movie forgot that film is a visual medium, and what you can’t see might as well never have happened.
And speaking of ‘visual,’ visualize this: An old shaman, hidden away in a cave and defended by his tribe’s greatest warriors, crafts a spell that would summon these ghost animals to defend his people, who are under attack by soldiers. He’s seemingly betrayed by someone he trusts, and their position is overwhelmed, costing the shaman his life, as well as that of his guardians.
Though the traitor is allowed to live, though he too is betrayed and he receives nothing and lives with the memory of his crime, till the day he dies.
The spell to summon the Avalanche Sharks is never completed, and the members of the tribe that aren’t killed outright are scattered all over the country in the event known as The Trail of Tears.
Back in the current day, distant relatives of the Shaman’s tribe are compelled to return to the mountain. With so many of his blood relations on the lands which used to be theirs, the Shaman grows powerful enough to reach out to any individuals of the same bloodline with a Bloodsong, which compels that person to do the Shaman’s bidding
This being, his name forgotten, is known simply as the Shaman and being unable to let go of his pain, and seeks to inflict it upon others.
He compels this individual to complete the ceremony he began thousands of years prior, summoning the spirit animals known as Avalanche Sharks from the Great Beyond, who then go about slaughtering anyone that isn’t linked to the tribe by blood.
That’s a lot more complex that anything that happens in the movie, and could have potentially turned Avalanche Sharks into a horror classic as opposed to a campy trifle.