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247°F (2011)

247 degreesDirector: Levan Bakhia and Beqa Jguburia
Starring: Scout Taylor-Compton, Travis Van Winkle, Christina Ulloa, Michael Copon, Tyler Mane.
Running time: 90 minutes
Certificate: 18
DVD Release Date: 18 March 2013

Three years after her fiancée’s death in a car accident, Jenna (Taylor-Compton) joins her best friend Renee (Ulloa) for a weekend in a quiet lakeside cabin with Renee’s irresponsible boyfriend Michael (Copon) and his buddy Ian (Van Winkle.) The cabin features a sauna. After an argument, the drunken Michael storms out, leaving the other three in the sauna. But then the door is blocked from the inside, and the temperature keeps rising, threatening to bake them to death.

At the risk of going into the realm of the plot spoiler, there’s no evil killer or fiendish plot; the situation arises purely out of stupidity and irresponsibility, almost a black comedy of errors (although the film isn’t intentionally funny.) Essentially 247°F has the moral content of a 1970s public information film: don’t do this or horrible things will happen.

Then again, public information films from the 70s were some of the most terrifying horror movies ever made, and all usually less than a minute long and with virtually no gore. It’s open to question, though, whether 247°F is actually a horror film. Elastic definitions of the genre are all very well, but this doesn’t evoke terror – suspense, yes, but not fear. It’s essentially a drama with elements of suspense.

It’s a well-made film with strong performances – especially from Taylor-Compton – and a claustrophobic, not to mention throat-parching, atmosphere. If that sounds like damning with faint praise it’s because 247°F is a fairly slight film.

SIMON BESTWICK

Second opinion

“What initially appears to be a cliched and tiresomely familiar slasher film turns into a more thoughtful horror thriller. It’s by no means the most original or compulsory horror film out there but as far as the ‘trapped in a horrific situation’ brand of horror films goes (think along the same lines of Frozen) this holds its own with an impressive rather than cheap denouement.”

MICHAEL WILSON

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