October 23, 2012 (U.S. DVD)
Levan Bakhia, Bega Jguburia, Lloyd S. Wagner and Bega Oniani
Levan Bakhia, Bega Jguburia
Scout Taylor-Compton as Jenna
Travis Van Winkle as Ian
Michael Copon as Michael
Christina Ulloa as Renee
Tyler Mane as Wade
The opening scenes of 247 Degrees F show a happy time indeed as Jenna (Taylor-Compton) is married to the love of her life, and the happy couple drive off to their honeymoon. Jenna’s life is changed in an instant when a car accident leaves her new husband dead and her trapped inside the wreckage for hours before rescue arrives.
Three years later Jenna joins her friend Renee (Christina Ulloa), Renee’s Boyfriend Michael (Michael Copon) and Michael’s friend Ian (Travis Van Winkle) for a weekend retreat at the lakeside cabin of Ian’s uncle Wade (Tyler Mane), and while Jenna is still scarred and afraid after her ordeal years before she attempts to have a good time. Drinking, drugs and sex are on the agenda for this weekend, and there is a new sauna that seems a logical place to hang out and drink. When something blocks the sauna door from the outside the heat rises and without escape the partiers will be cooked alive.
247 Degrees F is not a horror movie, but it is a thriller with some performers known for horror movies in the cast. This film has very few sets and very few performers, consisting primarily of the cabin with the sauna occupied by the kids and the uncle. Characters and dialogue carry the film, and carry it well, but let’s talk for a minute about Scout Taylor-Compton.
Taylor-Compton is a fine actress, and does a fine job playing the shattered and broken girl trying to get on with her life among “friends” who are pretty annoyed by her constant pain and whining. This is a pretty common theme for Taylor-Compton. Admittedly I’ve only seen her in the Rob Zombie Halloween films I and II, and this one, but it feels as if that’s enough. This actress is very good at playing a young woman who goes through unspeakable tragedy, and then continues to be annoyingly broken afterward. There have been plenty of performers who have played characters who have endured plenty of hardship, but Taylor-Compton seems to have mastered the particular attributes that inspire people to say “damn, get over it!”. Understand this point – it is not that anyone going through the kinds of trauma that this character has gone through should simply get over it, it is that the specific way Taylor-Compton plays this character is extremely annoying and inspires that response. Between that, and the baby talk she used when talking with her onscreen mother in Halloween (played by Dee Wallace) she lost me from hello. She is just not likeable. She is just annoying. She just needs to check herself into an inpatient program somewhere and stop making lives miserable for everyone around her. Damn girl, get over it.
To say that 247 Degrees F is a “slow burn” is both a pun, and a description of the pacing. This film takes a lot of time to get going, and there is a clear attempt to build anticipation slowly as the film progresses. Too slowly, in fact. It is as if there wasn’t enough material for a full 90 minute feature, and considering all that really happens is that some kids get trapped in a sauna that is set on “high” I would tend to agree. Maybe if Taylor-Compton could have been a bit less annoying, it wouldn’t have seemed like the film that never ends, but she was very annoying, so it does.
247 Degrees F co-writer, co-director and producer Levan Bakhia was very smart to bring Scout Taylor-Compton and Tyler Mane into this film, as the reuniting of Laurie Strode and Michael Myers from Rob Zombie’s Halloween is sure to cause a lot of buzz and bring a lot of attention. It is highly likely that this one would never have gotten off the ground without this pairing, and both of these actors are very good at their craft. He couldn’t have anticipated that the irritating nature of his female lead would not make up for content insufficient for a feature film, and instead cause the picture to crash… and dare I say again, burn.