Snow Sharks

(Don't Eat Red Snow...)

A Treatment for a Feature Film Screenplay

by Melanie Anne Phillips

The screen is black. Suddenly the darkness is lanced by incredibly harsh light as a vault door opens with the massive "CACHUNG!" of gears releasing. We hear air escaping from a pressure seal. As the door opens, slowly on its huge hinges, interior lights flicker to life inside the vault. The steel walls are entangled in a web of vine-like tubes carrying colored fluids in spurts and rushes. The floor is crammed with numerous high-tech scientific instruments, many with flashing numeric displays adding up countless numbers unknown. The tubes are connected to and run through some of the machines, but all terminate in the center of the room. There, like a spider in a web, sit three black, metallic, coffin-like capsules, two perhaps nine feet long on either side of the twelve foot enclosure in the center.

Visible now in the doorway, a team of Navy Seals, armed to the teeth, lunges into protective cover positions around the opening. They hold their marks, a moment passes, then a General steps into the door frame and stops to examine the interior of the vault. A beat later, he is joined by an elderly Scientist in white lab coat. The General asks if "They" are in the capsules. The Scientist affirms but pleads that this is dangerously premature. The General tells him that he agrees, but the matter is completely out of their hands.

We HARD CUT to a security check point in a long, narrow, doorless corridor of the same building. Without warning, the team of Navy Seals whips around the corner wheeling the three capsules, now connected to portable equipment, quickly down the hall. One by one, they pass several state-of-the-art security checkpoints including both passive and active systems, which are opened for them as soon as they approach. Wordlessly, the General and Scientist bring up the rear at a fast clip. The last security point cleared, the convoy stops in front of a massive, double sliding door. The Scientist turns to the General and says, "God help you." The General looks at him for a moment, then replies, "God help us all." With that a fist slams on the door opening button. Immediately, red warning lights strafe the corridor as alarms go off with ear-splitting intensity. With a lurch, the great doors swing wide exposing a chilling and harsh scene of a violent blizzard, the wind bursting into the hallway like the shock wave of a nuclear blast. Title, "SNOWSHARKS", in blood-red is supered over this shot.

Main titles are run over the following scenes: Steeling themselves against the bitter cold the Seals and the General push off into the storm. The Scientist remains, silhouetted in the harsh yellow light of the research facility. A sign on the building reads, "United States Navy - Genetics Research Division". Visible now through the plummeling snow, is a highly illuminated landing strip that seems almost too small to hold, much less land, the Navy Hercules that sits, engines already idling, in the center of the pool of light. As the Seals approach, the cargo door opens in anticipation, revealing the co-pilot of the flight. He tells the Seals to hurry it up, they're letting all the hot air out. The General asks him if he really wants them to risk dropping one of these things. The co-pilot replies that as long as he doesn't know what's in them, he doesn't worry about it getting out. The capsules are secured in pre-prepared berths, the Seals disembark, and the co-pilot salutes the General as the cargo door closes over him.

Inside the cockpit, the co-pilot takes his seat telling the pilot that everything is secure. The pilot revs up the engine and the plane lurches forward into the storm, snow filling the wheel tracks almost as soon as they are made. From the field, the General watches as the plane turns, pushes the engines full and impossibly takes off from the much too small landing strip. He stares after the receding flight lights and says, "God help us all..."

High above the Rocky Mountains of Colorado the weather worsens. The pilot says he could use some coffee and the co-pilot volunteers to get it. He heads back to the cargo hold, starts to pour the steaming brew, then hesitates and peers at the capsules, swinging from side to side in their suspensions as the plane is buffeted by the storm. Before he can finish preparing the coffee a huge lurch rocks the body of the transport. He throws the Styrofoam cups to the floor and darts back to the cockpit, grabbing the bulkheads for support as the craft shimmies and sways.

The choppiness makes it almost impossible to stand and the co-pilot plummets into his seat. He asks what the hell is going on. The pilot replies that they've hit a little weather. The co-pilot says, "No shit!" Suddenly, a tremendous jolt rocks the ship, knocking out much of the instrumentation, leaving the crew to "fly blind". Suddenly the craggy face of a huge peak appears through the heavy snowfall. The frantic crew attempts evasive action, but it is too late and the clandestine transport collides with the mountain. Somehow the pilot manages to right the plane just before impact and skid into the slope instead of smashing into it. The huge Hercules cuts a rut in the frozen earth as it slices through trees and boulders which grab and tear at the fuselage, ripping great holes in the fragile skin. Finally, the transport comes to rest in a flat plateau , the snow falling gently, visible in the flickering light of burning debris. The plane itself, however, has miraculously not caught fire. The crew is knocked unconscious.

Time passes. Inside the craft, the unconscious crew begins to stir as dawn lightens the eastern sky. Battered and stunned, one by one they regain their senses. The pilot nervously jokes about landing and they are all grateful to be alive, only to be nervously startled by sounds from the cargo hold. For deep within the belly of the plane, something has begun to stir. Upon entering the broken hold the co-pilot braces himself against the sharp, cold wind bursting through the gaping holes gouged through the skin of the plane. He notices that the snowbank around the plane has been cracked and the massive blocks of frozen death are shifting, threatening a major avalanche. Fuel has leaked all over the snow and sopped into the fresh powder.

He moves farther in and discovers that the capsules have broken open from the crash. He turns to call to the pilot when a dark form lunges from beneath a drift and explodes his body as it smashes through him. pilot turns to the commotion, but freezes as the POV of the thing races toward him. There is the bloody flash of red then we see the cabin, vacant except for the gooey red stains dripping and freezing on the console. The blood seeps into a panel, shorting it out with major sparks that ignite a small fire that burns toward the fuel.

Looking through a ragged hole toward the outside, we see a dark fin disappear into the snow, followed by a second, then a third, leaving a wake heading over a ridge. The camera follows the wake until we can see over the ridge, down into the bowl-shaped valley below, down to the isolated ski resort where a group of teenagers is spending Christmas vacation. Director's credit superimposed.

Below, in the valley the teenagers are frolicking on the slopes in the clear weather following the storm. We learn that they are high-schoolers on a skiing vacation for one week. They engage in various antics and show off a lot. Suddenly, a huge explosion rocks the valley as the plane explodes, knocking them to their feet. For a moment there is silence and calm: nothing happens. Then, sharp cracking sounds echo off the canyon walls. More silence then a low rumble that quickly builds to a roar. Instantly the frozen tableau is shattered as everyone runs for cover. Boulders of snow rumble down the slopes and across the valley floor narrowly missing several people.

Characters are introduced as each reacts in his own fashion to the onrushing wall of snow. There are the two would-be lovers, Anne and Dorian, who are just a little too shy. He risks his life to pull her to safety behind a boulder. There is the whiz-kid science major, Piper, who keeps whipping up the weirdest devices and concoctions from whatever raw materials happen to be around. He figures out some ingenious quick-fix to protect himself. He is a notorious practical joker. We meet the football jock, Adam, a huge kid with an intelligence and empathy that belie his hulking size. He happens to be in the fringe of the frozen flood, and just stands there immovable as the dunes drift around his legs. The gang member, Jingo, who must learn the art of self-sacrifice. He gets chased by the snow, scampers up a tree, then stands on a limb and gives the finger to the swirling white rush. The conceited student body president, Peter, who only looks out for number one. He pushes a couple people out of the way to escape. The party girl, Gloria, who stands screaming at the oncoming snow until it peters out and the leading edge stops just in front of her toes. She looks down and says, "Oh." And several others who have come for the fun.

One girl, way up on the higher slopes, becomes mired in the flood of powdered snow and screams in hysteria as she is buried in the onslaught. Eventually, the frozen flood subsides, and the vacationers stand in stunned silence. They begin to "take role" to see if everyone is accounted for. They can't find Gena. Someone mentions that they saw her on the upper slopes. All eyes turn and see her bright orange ski jacket sprawled across the high snow. They race off to reach her.

Meanwhile, Gena awakens to find herself in an air pocket buried deep below the surface. Searching for a way to alert her friends she barely manages to reach her ski pole. Prodding it up through the ceiling of her frozen tomb, the tip barely protrudes into the crisp morning air. Down the slope, the search party sees the tip moving up and down. Realizing that she is alive, they redouble their efforts to ascend. Back in the bubble, Gena's attention is drawn to rumbling sound that begins to shake the snow around her. She frantically glances at the ceiling afraid that it will cave in on her at any moment. She thrusts the pole higher, trying to speed her rescue as the shouts filter down through the frozen slush. The rumbling increases to a massive pitch when suddenly the snow cracks all around her. She snaps here glance toward the major cracking just in time to see the snow shark, all teeth and fins, burst through the wall of her gossamer cave, its speed propelling it through the air and into her. Above, the rescuers hear her screams and stare as the ski pole slides limply into the hole.

The search party frantically scrambles up the remaining distance to the cave. They tear into the snow, breaking through into the chamber. The walls of ice cavern are red with freezing blood. One small tunnel enters from the side, and another disappears in the opposite wall. Gena is nowhere to be scene. Back at the resort the group sits by the fire and contemplates the loss of Gena. They try to call out and report the incident, but the phone lines have been knocked down by the storm. The next suggestion is to drive out for help. They take the Land Rover up to the pass, but the entire way is blocked by thousands of tons of snow. They get out examine the wall then get back in and drive back. As the Land Rover passes us a fin slices through the ruts of the tire tracks. Back at the lodge they determine they will have to wait until the phone lines are up, or until they are noticed as being overdue to return. Peter, the self-centered student, decides to go skiing anyway, as he didn't even know Gena and the snow looks great. The others were initially inclined to just sit it out, but as nothing can be done now, one by one they decide to follow suit. It doesn't take long for the kids to get back in the mood on the runs.

The snow sharks begin to feed on the slopes, horribly killing the gentle forest animals, moving ever closer to the valley floor.

The resort has installed a lighting system for night skiing that illuminates the snow from below with colored lights which flash in patterns to music piped over the loudspeakers, making the slopes one huge disco floor. That night the kids "hot dog" down the slopes to the music, while under the surface shadowy bodies silhouetted against the pastel lights glide silently beneath the skiers, selecting their prey...

The shy girl dares the shy guy to go "Skinny Skiing" naked, under the full moon. They doff their clothes and race down the slope toward a half-way cabin. With the full moon high in the frame the silhouettes of their bodies contrast against the fresh snow. First her, skiing quickly and laughing, a pause, then he passes in hot pursuit, a pause, then the shape of a snow shark sliding gracefully behind them, gaining ground... One member of the group tries to escape, but is run down by the creatures and takes refuge on a rock that sits, island-like, in the middle of a snowy field. All six of the snow sharks gather 'round as evidenced by the closing fins. They hold their position until it starts to snow and the drift level, like a tide, begins to rise...

The conceited kid decides to make a break for it. He figures if he can outrun the sharks and make a ski jump across the semi-frozen river he will be safe, as they have discovered that the sharks can no longer live in water. He callously sends someone else out as a distraction, waits until the sharks converge on his helpless classmate, then charges down the hill toward the river. Sensing the quick movement, the sharks turn from the hapless classmate, sparing him, and move off in pursuit of the conceited kid. A cat and mouse race ensues with the kid using every trick he knows to stay ahead of the predators. Finally, the river is in sight. With the snow sharks closing, he reaches the edge and makes a flawless jump into the crisp air. In mid-flight, he raises his fist in triumph, just as one of the sharks bursts from a snow bank on the edge of the river and smashes into him in mid-air, halfway across. We cut to the pristine country side where blood splatters across the fresh snow as bloody pieces of meat snarl in the sharp branches of the pines. Across the river, his skis land perfectly, two bloody boots still attached, and disappear smoothly over a ridge.

The government learns of the crash and sends an expert to report on the situation. Not interfering and allowing more kids to be killed, he reports that the situation is serious and calls for an air strike of napalm. The kids learn of the impending disaster as the government attempts to cover its tracks at the expense of their lives. Ultimately the government spy is himself killed by the SNOW SHARKS and the kids form a daring plan to survive the coming onslaught of fire and ice. Having discovered that the SNOWSHARKS can no longer live in water, they take the agent's radio to the snowbanks above the resort, dodging the SNOWSHARKS , since it is the beacon the planes will home in on.

The air strike melts the high snow banks, sending a flood of ice water coated with burning napalm cascading into the valley. The kids survive and the SNOW SHARKS are destroyed, drowned, then flash-frozen in crystalline tombs. But a burning fragment from the strike lands near one of the SNOWSHARKS. The tip of the tail is melted free.

We move in slowly to tight close shot of its frozen, motionless eye and hold for a moment when it blinks. Screen cuts to black, and the following title is supered:

SNOW SHARKS - Don't Eat Red Snow...

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