247°F is 119.444444444445 degrees Celsius. It is also a sauna set, survival horror which desperately tries to turn up the heat and ends up failing to ignite anything in its audience but apathy.
247°F follows the boring and unoriginal story of Jenna (Halloween Remake star and bad acting role picker, Scout Taylor-Compton) a mentally scarred girl who witnessed her boyfriend die in a horrible car crash that they where both involved in.
Three years later and still understandably upset by the incident, her annoying and uncaring friends decide she needs to get over it, stop moaning and moping and have some fun inviting her to a remote lakeside cabin for a weekend away. For some reason this sounds lovely to her and not like the set up for a terrible horror film at all.
Owned by Wade (WCW wrestler, Sabertooth failure and Halloween Remake star Tyler Mane) Jenna, her childhood friend Renee (Christina Ulloa, not from the Halloween Remake but perhaps should have been) and the accompanying obligatory, jockular boy characters, the group discovers that the cabin has a sauna which Wade has installed himself.
Believing this to be the perfect place to drink before their night out, the feckless foursome soon become somehow trapped, and as the heat rises they… Well, they start to die really. It’s that simple.
Comparing itself to such survival situation horrors as the brilliant Buried as well as Frozen and Open Water, 247°F tries its best to create the tension and suspense seen in these films and incite in the audience the feeling of fear as they wonder what they would do if it happened to them.
Unfortunately though, directors Levan Bakhia and Beqa Jguburia are simply not good enough story tellers or film makers. And this coupled with the terrible script and some of the worst sound mixing ever to be committed to a DVD means that the only thing 247°F replicates from the reality of being trapped in a sauna is the sheer sense of soul destroying boredom, which can only be halted by the welcome spectre of death.
The sublime success of Buried was that Ryan Reynolds and director Rodrigo Cortés not only made 95 minutes of being trapped in a coffin exciting, terrifying and entirely engaging, but they also crafted a fully fleshed out character that you truly cared about – and that second element is an absolute must if a film such as this is going to work.
Sadly the clichéd horror teens on offer in 247°F are about as likable as leprosy and as wooden as the sauna itself. Renee’s meathead stoner boyfriend Michael, played by Blue Time Force Ranger Michael Copon is frustratingly idiotic and Jenna’s love interest Ian (Friday the 13th Remake star Travis Van Winkle) is even worse, with his endless exposition and explanations of the situation, coupled with his third act surprise expert knowledge of medicine and conveniently, sauna engineering.
In fact, the only interesting character is Wade, as at least Tyler Mane gets to play against type. But if you are a hardcore Tyler Mane fan (and I know you’re out there Mane-Heads – I’ve seen your MySpace!) then even you are going to be disappointed because he isn’t in it much.
247°F is neither serious or stupid enough to work, shifting between scenes full of gratuitous shots of the guys and girls glistening with sweat in their skimpy outfits, to moments of dreary dread-less build up, like where Ian explains what will happen to their bodies if the temperature rises another few Fahrenheit (which it does to accidental murders and a bonkers explosion) none of which works on any level, especially as horror.
Oh and did I mention it’s based on a true story? Yes apparently it’s all based on true events! However they never exactly say which part. So it could just be the bit when some dumb kids drink in a sauna.
Okay so there is an episode of the morbidly addictive Curious and Unusual Deaths which contains the real life story of a retired teacher who made his own sauna and then became trapped inside with his wife when the handle broke off.
Perhaps 247°F is based on this. However this small, true story featured within a 30 minute episode of a relatively low budget TV series starring unknown actors who have never been in a remake has more intrigue, terror and tragedy than the entire running time of 247°F. I would urge anyone to seek that out rather than watching this flop of a film.
247°F fails on every level to set the world of horror alight and it will leave you stone cold and boiling with rage after wasting your time watching it.
It’s a hot mess of a movie.
Okay enough temperature jokes, I’m off for a cold shower.