A Movie Review on 247 Degrees Fahrenheit (2011)
I didn't really expect much from 247°F when I sat down to watch it. There weren't many reviews out for the movie, but the trailer intrigued me enough that I was willing to give it a chance. I also like Scout Taylor-Compton as an actress since her role in Rob Zombie's Halloween Remake. The movie seemed different, at least to me. When was the last time you've seen a movie about a group of teens trapped in a sauna? I know I never have. While 247°F is far from a terrible film, its neither a great film, but falls somewhere in the middle.
The movie follows 4 friends who take a vacation to one of the groups uncle's lakeside cabin for a weekend of drinking and having fun. They discover the newly built sauna, and spend a lot of time going between the hot sauna and jumping in the cold lake. 3 of them end up getting trapped inside the sauna, thinking that the forth, Michael, is playing a joke on them. They soon realize that the door is being blocked, and that Michael is nowhere to be found. As the heat inside the sauna begins to rise, and their water supply runs out, the group must figure out a way to escape from the sauna before they succumb to heat stroke.
The movie surprised me by how it's not as dumb as the typical teens-in-danger films tend to be. Trust me, there are still a few dumb moments throughout the film, but the writer/directors appeared to have tried to come up with answers to all of your questions while watching the film. For example, when the group first gets stuck in the sauna one of the girls goes to leave, and the door opens a few inches, but doesn't go any further. The guy tries it, and it then only opens a very little, then doesn't even budge. This scene left me scratching my head thinking, "what the hell", but the filmmakers do a good job explaining it later on. How come Michael doesn't hear them screaming for him? How come the uncle doesn't just listen to his dog when it's trying to tell him the kids are in trouble? All these things are explained, and actually make a lot of sense.
None of the characters inside the sauna make any rash or really stupid decisions. Ian, played by Travis Van Winkle, comes across at the typical dumb jock/douche in the beginning of the film, but while they are stuck inside of the sauna he becomes the smartest and most rational of the group. I imagined that if I was ever stuck in the same situation as these characters I would probably be doing the same exact thing as them. Towards the end of the movie they do make some questionable decisions, but given their circumstances it's not hard to see why they would do these things. After multiple failed attempts at getting out, or getting the temperature to stop rising, anyone would begin to get a little desperate. I must admit, I really enjoyed the ending to the movie. It ties things up quite well, and doesn't leave us still asking questions.
The acting is mediocre, with no real standout performances. Scout Taylor-Compton and Travis Van Winkle have a good handle on their roles, and their performances come across as genuine. They might not be the greatest actors in the world, but they do a good job with what they are given. Christina Ulloa, as Renne, is terrible. Her acting comes across as false and whiny, and her character was easily one of the most annoying in recent memory. I understand that given the situation there are people out there that would act exactly like her, but the only thing I wanted her to do was shut up. She does provide some great eye-candy though. The other two, Michael Copon as Michael, and Tyler Mane as Ian's Uncle do decent jobs. Copon has the easiest role in which for most of the time, he is both drunk and high. Seeing Tyler Mane without the Michael Myers mask was weird for me at first since his Halloween role is where I know him from. In Halloween he is either wearing a mask, or his hair is covering his face.
Overall I though this was a pretty decent movie. It takes a different approach to the teens-in-danger scenario, and does it without many missteps. The story is well done, and the situation of them being stuck in sauna is thought through quite well. I never felt that neither the characters or the story took a turn for the stupid, and for its 87 minute run time I was kept quite entertained. It's worth checking out if you have the time.
Directed by Levan Bakhia and Beqa Jguburia
Starring Scout Taylor-Compton, Travis Van Winkle, Christina Ulloa, Michael Copon, and Tyler Mane
Rated R. Runtime: 90 Minutes