There's a distinct sub-genre of horror/thrillers that can be easily described as "trapped in a BLANK" movies, and you've probably seen most of them. Trapped on a ski lift? Frozen. Trapped underground? Buried. Trapped in a phone booth? Um, well, Phone Booth. Trapped in the ocean? Open Water or Open Water 2: Adrift. Trapped in a car? Try Wrecked with Adrien Brody or Brake with Stephen Dorff. And then of course there's the recent non-classic ATM, which is about four young idiots trapped in an ATM vestibule. It's a very simple hook, you see, whether you're a clever filmmaker or you're a lazy producer who simply wants to piggyback on, well, a very simple hook.
Which brings us to the newest entry into this claustrophobic catalog: 247°F, which is about three young idiots who get trapped in a sauna. Ostensibly based on a true story and boasting one of the clunkiest, silliest screenplays in recent memory, 247°F offers a few familiar faces, a painfully convoluted editorial style, and (again) dialogue that frequently careens from outright stupid to irritatingly redundant. (Count how many times the characters call each others' names out for no good reason.) 247°F is clearly a low-budget affair that was made in Georgia (Soviet Georgia, not Atlanta's Georgia) and sold to distributors on sheer power of premise and cover art alone.
There's simply nothing here. No character, tension, suspense, excitement, wit, humor, or creativity on display, just a chintzy plot framework that sees three idiots become sauna-trapped because of some amazingly dumb reasons who start to bitch and whine almost immediately and do the stupidest things imaginable. A subplot, of sorts, finally pops up in the form of a weed-smoking, fireworks-testing uncle whose moments are supposed to add tension to the plight of the three unhappy, accidental prisoners, but are instead little more than filler footage that exist solely to help the film reach a professional-ish 82-minute running time.
If you're a fan of crisp editing, fluid storytelling, and simple scenes of character building ... stay far away from this movie. Fans of the genre may recognize names like Travis Van Winkle (Friday the 13th), Scout Taylor-Compton (Rob Zombie's Halloween 2), and Tyler Mane (Rob Zombie's Halloween), but unfortunately these actors were flown overseas to recite hellaciously bad dialogue in a sub-genre knock-off piece that seems to copy other movies fairly well, but has no idea how to mark any fresh or novel territory of its own. Other than a provocative DVD cover and a "people trapped in a sauna" hook (which is actually not all that suspenseful, truth be told), there's nothing about 247°F that's worth remembering. Or watching.