Gimmick movies are definitely a hit or miss for me. When they’re done well, they succeed at keeping you entertained with whatever chosen surrounding the film’s writers have forced the unfortunate characters to be stuck in. Movies like 2002’s PHONE BOOTH or 2010’s FROZEN keep you on edge the whole time, caring about the characters involved and hoping for their survival. On the flipside to that, when a film relies too much on the gimmick and not enough on the development of the characters involved, you get…247ºF.
247ºF revolves around Jenna (Rob Zombie’s HALLOWEEN films’ Scout Taylor-Compton). During the opening credits, she experiences an accident which results in the death of her boyfriend. Fast forward three years later and Jenna, along with her friend Rene (Christina Ulloa), Rene’s boyfriend Michael (Michael Copon from Adam Gierash’s NIGHT OF THE DEMONS remake) and Michael’s friend Ian (Travis Van Winkle from Platinum Dunes’ FRIDAY THE 13th remake) decides to go on a weekend getaway to stay at a cabin owned by Ian’s uncle (played by hobo Michael Myers himself, TYLER MANE). Yeah, I know what you’re thinking “Damn, these guys must really want to rely on casting familiar faces from remakes”…but bear with me. The group gets to the cabin and faster than you can say “while getting ready to go to a party let’s randomly all get into a…sauna??”the group, well, gets into said sauna. This is where it gets unfortunate. Not only for the characters in the film, but for us as viewers as well.
What could be a catalyst for some decent character arcs/development, most of the group, through a drunken mishap, gets stuck inside the sauna. Unfortunately, it never focuses on any character arcs, and instead of going the path of Neil Marshall’s THE DESCENT which utilized a character’s former tragedy into some really powerful character development and getting the main character through the past tragedy by being in a horrific situation, you don’t really feel for anyone stuck in the sauna in 247ºF, you just begin to get increasingly annoyed with them. What happens from there on out, teeter-totters on frustrating, often borderline ludicrous situations and decisions that treat the viewer like they’re an idiot the whole time. None of the characters are smart enough to get out (or for any characters NOT in the sauna-get help) but Tyler Mane’s character’s dog is the one trying to get people to save the unfortunate characters. I’m not making this up, it felt straight out of the original HILLS HAVE EYES 2(the one with the dog having a flashback) in terms of being believable. I started wishing the movie was about a smart dog instead of the characters complaining the whole second half of the movie. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure if I happened to be stuck in a sauna I’d be pretty pissed too but then again, if I was getting ready to party my ass off, chances are that I wouldn’t want to jump in a sauna and get all sweaty..that would mean another shower! Hehe
I think what frustrated me most, is that the actors in the film aren’t bad actors. I’ve liked them in other films I’ve seen them in, but the lazy script for this movie makes them seem like they are bad actors. If the tagline for the film is right, “Every degree matters!”, I think they forgot that a decent story does as well.
247ºF was directed by Beqa Jguburia & Levan Bakhiais and now available on dvd/bluray from ANCHOR BAY.