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‘Avalanche Sharks’ delivers precisely what you’d expect, whether you want it or not

When the Colorado Avalanche lost to the San Jose Sharks in 2019's playoffs, Steve Staeger lost a bet to Brandon Rittiman and had to review a low-budget horror movie.
Credit: Steve Staeger

DENVER — Editor’s Note: When the Colorado Avalanche and San Jose Sharks played a playoff series against each other in 2019, 9NEWS anchor Steve Staeger and former 9NEWS political reporter Brandon Rittiman made a bet. Rittiman, a lifelong Sharks fan, bet Staeger that the loser would have to watch a 2014 horror movie he found called “Avalanche Sharks”, live-tweet the experience, then write a 500-word review for their station’s website. The Colorado Avalanche lost the series in Game 7. The following is Steve Staeger’s review of “Avalanche Sharks”:

In a world filled with movies, 2014’s Avalanche Sharks is certainly one of them. It has a cast of actors, a runtime, a musical score, video, and a script.

Rated NC-17, the feature-length film is set at a California mountain ski resort during spring break. A group of friends has planned a trip to the mountain to partake in things you would expect a group of friends in a movie like this might do: ski, drink, do drugs and engage in other activities.

Upon their arrival at Mammoth Mountain, they quickly start to realize something isn’t right. The film opens with a sequence of two men snowboarding in backcountry territory, only to be eaten by sharks that appear under the snow.

The main character of the film, Wade, a Marine recently returning from active duty, quickly realizes that his brother, one of the aforementioned shark victims, isn’t around. He tries to alert the authorities, who seem more interested in tanning than helping him out.

As the story advances, filled with gratuitous shots of women in bikinis out on what looks like very cold ski slopes, we meet several other characters who will play a key role in the film, including the resort owner, a shrewd businessman named Lars, who will do whatever it takes to not let fear of the strange sharks close down his business.

We also meet Diana, played by Kate Nauta, a marine biologist who, for some reason, lives on the mountain, married to the resort town’s sheriff. Both play a key role in figuring out why the ghost sharks are haunting the slopes of the mountain.

You get a feel for the budget of ‘Avalanche Sharks’ almost immediately, when a ski patrol truck pulls away from a scene, complete with a red cross which appears to be assembled with masking tape.

The cinematography of the film though is impressive. The images, aside from what appears to be GoPro video of people skiing, appear to be shot on a very nice camera.

This begs a question: why didn’t more of the budget go toward the sharks? In a movie titled ‘Avalanche Sharks’, the sharks appear to be cheap holograms.

This is one of many questions you’ll have as you try to ascertain the plot of this z-movie. Things get convoluted very quickly, as the legend of the snow sharks is slowly revealed. If you aren’t following along you’ll be lost: like I was. I had to rewind the film several times and even then I still couldn’t tell you what actually happened.

As a matter of fact, this review didn’t need a spoiler alert because I’m not sure I understood the film enough to spoil anything.

READ MY LIVE TWEET THREAD OF THE MOVIE BELOW

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Man. I still have 50 or so words to go.

Had I not lost a bet, I couldn’t firmly say whether or not I would have watched this movie. Though I will admit, it made for a rather fun evening on the couch.

If you’re looking for cinematic art, look elsewhere. If you’re looking for something that makes a funny Twitter thread, this is your movie.

Steve Staeger anchors 9NEWS weekends and reports for Next with Kyle Clark during the week. Have a story idea for Steve? Or a suggestion for a better movie? E-mail: steve@9news.com

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