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DirectorLevan Bakhia, Beqa Jguburia
Release Date(s)2011 (October 23, 2012)
Studio(s)Anchor Bay Entertainment
As technology has advanced, mankind has come up with an ever-increasing number of devices and places to trap ourselves in. We can get trapped on a ski lift, in an elevator, in a car, in our own homes or on an airport runway. Unfortunately for the horror genre, most of these aren’t going to kill you, at least not for a very long time. You’re more likely to die of boredom on a stuck elevator than anything else.
In order to turn these inconveniences into life-or-death struggles, filmmakers will typically make their characters very (A) drunk, (B) stoned, (C) stupid or some combination of the above. 247°F goes for the trifecta, throwing in bad timing and coincidence in an attempt to wring some sweat out of its audience as well as its characters.
Scout Taylor-Compton stars as Jenna, a young woman still traumatized from the death of her new husband three years earlier. Christina Ulloa is her well-meaning but oblivious best friend who thinks what Jenna’s borderline-shattered psyche needs is a trip to a lakefront cabin with her obnoxious boyfriend (Michael Copon) and his earnest pal (Travis Van Winkle). Their plan is to go to an ultra-exclusive May Day party (of which there are many, I’m sure) but they never make it past the sauna after the door gets jammed, trapping three of them inside. Tyler Mane also turns up as Uncle Wade. We’re apparently supposed to suspect Uncle Wade of having a sinister hidden agenda simply because he’s played by Tyler Mane but that never really comes across.
247°F is similar (if not identical) to Adam Green’s trapped-on-a-ski-lift thriller Frozen. But a ski lift is inherently visually dangerous. This boils down to three people stuck in a wooden room with wavy digital heat effects and a production assistant kept busy spritzing the stars down with glistening sweat between takes. Fear is typically conveyed by characters shouting, “I’m tired of waiting! I’ve gotta get out of here now!” After a few minutes in their company, I felt exactly the same way. The movie is alternately boring and irritating with virtually no sense of danger, claustrophobia or even heat. The filmmakers seem to be going for a slow-burn of tension and suspense but instead, the whole thing just goes nowhere slowly.
The movie, shot digitally in
Some movies have the germ of a good idea but then botch the execution. 247°F might have seemed like a good idea but I’m not even certain it has that going for it. Being trapped in a sauna would absolutely be scary, no question about it. But there’s a difference between scary and compelling that 247°F doesn’t quite grasp. Under the right circumstances, it can also be scary to lock your keys in your car. That doesn’t mean I want to watch a movie about it.
- Dr. Adam Jahnke