Wednesday, December 26, 2012

247°F (2011)

**This review contains spoilers**

Three years after losing her boyfriend in a tragic car accident, Jenna (Scout Taylor-Compton) agrees to go on a vacation with her best friend Renee (Christina Ulloa). Jenna joins Renee, her boyfriend Michael (Michael Copon), and Michael’s friend Ian (Travis Van Winkle) at a lakeside cabin. Ian’s uncle, Wade (Tyler Mane) owns the cabin, and his custom-built sauna is the main attraction.

After swimming in the cold lake, Ian urges everyone to enjoy the sauna. Although, Michael’s obnoxious drunk behavior upsets Renee, so Michael leaves the sauna. Frustrated and tired of the heat, Renee tries to leave, but something from the outside is blocking the door to the sauna. Jenna is without her anti-depressant medication, Ian tries to reassure his friends, but Renee panics, and things only get worse, when the sauna’s temperature controls malfunction after a careless mistake. Wade is producing a local fireworks show, and Michael is trying to sleep off his hangover. Breaking the window on the Sauna door provides some temporary relief, but the survivors are running out of water and time.

Seeing Scout Taylor-Compton and Tyler Mane on the same screen together again provided a great geek-out moment for me. Scout Taylor-Compton was the new Laurie Strode in Rob Zombie's Halloween films, and Tyler Mane played Michael Myers. Man, seeing Mane without the mask felt so weird.

Anyway, Scout Taylor-Compton delivers the best performance. Compton is convincing, and she really nailed Jenna’s fragile personality. Travis Van Winkle is OKAY at best, and his over the top “I’M GOING CRAZY!” tirade at the end couldn’t elevate his performance. With the exception of a nervous breakdown at the end, Michael Copon’s lifeless performance is painful to watch. Christina Ulloa is decent enough, but her character is very annoying. And Wade is a terrible person (an uncle, who gives homemade alcohol and weed to teens, and he’s related to one of them? Seriously?), but it’s not fair to judge Tyler Mane’s performance or lack there of. Wade only has a handful of brief appearances in this film, and his screen time is limited.

Looking for a jaw-dropping and diabolical twist explaining the blocked door in 247°F? Don’t hold your breath, because this is what happened: during his drunken stumbling outside, Michael unknowingly blocks the sauna door with Wade’s ladder, trapping his friends inside.

Yeah, I know, it sounds very lame, but 247°F is based on real life events. I didn’t listen to the DVD commentary, but I’m guessing the filmmakers took the respectful approach to the reasons behind the blocked door. It’s a deflating revelation, but revealing the truth behind the blocked door didn‘t bother me at all. For me, 247°F reached the dead in the water point of no return at the fifty-two minute mark, and I just didn‘t care anymore.

The suspense and thrills from the plight of a steamy and claustrophobic prison doesn’t last long, because 247°F quickly devolves into a barrage of annoying complaints from the Renee character, and “this is your fault!” shouting matches. And more importantly, 247°F is VERY boring. 247°F loses a lot of steam (no pun intended) after Renee, Jenna, and Ian realize their inescapable and life-threatening dilemma, and Renee’s constant whining is just unbearable.

Final Rating: 1/10

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