247°F DVD Review
Written by Joel Harley
DVD released by Anchor Bay Entertainment
Directed by Levan Bakhia and Beqa Jguburia
Written by Levan Bakhia, Beqa Oniani and Lloyd S. Wagner
2011, Region 2 (PAL), 84 minutes, Rated 15 (UK)
DVD released on 18th March 2013
Scout Taylor-Compton as Jenna
Christina Ulloa as Renee
Travis Van Winkle as Ian
Michael Copon as Michael
Tyler Mane as Wade
Rene Etor as Beau
Another in the slowly expanding 'stupid kids stuck in stupid places' subgenre, 247°f is a movie which does for saunas what Open Water did for sharks and Frozen did for ski lifts. Where the king of these movies is either Stuck (tramp gets, um, stuck in a windshield) or 127 Hours, this movie about kids stuck in a sauna is closer in quality to Open Water 2: Adrift, a film about a gang of stupid teenagers who drowned because they were too dumb to lower the ladder into the water after they all jumped off their boat. The best part of that movie was when one of the kids managed to get himself stabbed. It takes a special kind of stupid to tread water and get stabbed at the same time.
Partying at a cabin in the woods, a gang of silly teenagers accidentally lock themselves in a hot sauna. As the temperature keeps rising, the kids resort to ever-desperate measures to stay alive. Break the little porthole window? Well, they could do, but that would trick the thermostat into going even higher, burning at full blast. Stuck in the middle of nowhere, they've no way of telling when or if someone will be by to free them. Needless to say, one's enjoyment of 247°f will depend heavily on how interesting you find the thought of four kids being trapped in a really hot room, desperate to get out. Bored by the plot? You can at least pass the time ogling the gathered hunks and hotties, who remain almost naked for the entirety of the film.
247°f briefly reunites the Halloween remake star Scout Taylor-Compton with erstwhile Michael Myers Tyler Mane. While Mane's beardy uncle Wade disappears after not too long, Taylor-Compton is one of the poor unfortunates trapped in the sauna. If matters weren't bad enough, she has to contend with her own claustrophobia and withdrawal symptoms from her antidepressants. Hunk Ian takes a more laid back response, suggesting that it'll be good that they all lose a few calories anyway. It's to the script and actor Travis Van Winkle's credit that he emerges the most likeable character in spite of his coming across like a smug jock. To be fair, it's hard to dislike any man named Van Winkle. For that name alone, Travis Van Winkle should be in everything.
Unfortunately, beyond a bit of bickering and a few burns, the film never really goes anywhere. Trapped in the sauna for most of the runtime, there are only so many threats that can be thrown at the kids. There's very little sense of escalation, nor are the characters particularly likeable enough that you'll be on the edge of your seat hoping that they escape.
247°f is nothing to get hot under the collar about, but it is a diverting, fairly tense thriller made all the more effective by its plausibility. By virtue of that, it doesn't really have to worry about characterisation or likeability – it's a horrible situation, easy to picture oneself in. Why else would we have an entire subgenre devoted to seeing people get stuck in saunas, under rocks, in windshields and on ski lifts? If the success of these movies proves anything, it's that the stupidity of humans is depressingly universal.
Video and Audio:
It looks hot and steamy, and not even in a sexy way. Although, yes, it is quite sexy. If you're watching 247°f purely to see the pretty young things lounging about in their underwear – shame on you – the first half will do you fine. The second half is appropriately dark and moody.
There's just a commentary track on the DVD.