Reviewed by: Zombie Boy
Levan Bakhia, Beqa Oniani
Travis Van Winkle
What's it about
A group of twentysomethings away for a fun weekend in a cabin by a lake get trapped in the sauna. Yup.
Is it good movie?
This is one of those funny movies that begins with a disclaimer saying, “Based on actual events,” and ending with one saying any similarity to real people or events is unintentional. It is also one of those films where we’re supposed to believe that the main character, here Scout Taylor-Compton playing Jenna, has never met her best-friend-since-high-school’s boyfriend, Michael or said boyfriend’s best friend, Ian. Sure. I believe it. But she meets them, in a big way, when she decides to accompany said best friend Renee, Michael, and fourth-wheel Ian to Ian’s uncle’s cabin by the lake for a weekend getaway.
You would think a movie about some young people being roasted alive in a sauna would be at least a little tense, or a little interesting, but neither is the case here. There are some vague attempts at red-herrings along the way when a short ladder suddenly wedges the door shut from the outside. The two girls, in typical horror film sexist fashion, mostly whine, cry, and snipe at each other while Ian, being the man, comes up with the practical ideas. Michael left the sauna earlier, drunk as a skunk, which provides part of the red herring material. Tyler Mane, as Uncle Wade, provides the rest.
And that’s really about the size of it. First time Georgian (the former SSR country, not the US state) director Levan Bakhia does a decent job, but it’s clear early on that there’s just not much material here with which to work. The characters are stock and the plot thin as a store-brand paper towel, hence the need for a sweeping score during “emotional” scenes and the red herring devices to attempt to generate some interest in what is essentially the story of some morons getting stuck in a sauna. There are no boobs and only a mild amount of blood. Zzzzzz.
Video / Audio
Video: Widescreen, 2.40:1. Crisp and clear.
Audio: Dolby TrueHD 5.1, so you won’t miss any of the score telling you how to feel. Optional Spanish and English SDH subtitles.
Deleted Scenes: There are four scenes here, but three are really more extended scenes. The film doesn’t suffer from their exclusion, nor does the disc benefit from their inclusion here.
Commentary with director Levan Bakhia: At first I was a little worried, since Bakhia’s English is pretty broken. But after a few minutes it’s clear that he grasps the language well. He keeps the commentary lively, both describing the action on screen and revealing BTS anecdotes. I also like how self-effacing he is; he readily admits to errors he made on set. I respect that in a filmmaker.
While director Levan Bakhia seems like a pretty decent guy, his debut film just never gets off the ground. Some whiny, pretty people get trapped in a sauna, and that’s pretty much it. Not much tension, not much chemistry between the characters, and some tired plot devices and musical cues running in the background like wayward apps on your phone. Safe to avoid.