William Butler’s 2007 film Furnace was a direct-to-DVD horror film that many missed. Chances are you’ve seen him (Butler) in something or seen a film he directed and didn’t even know it. His talent shined through in the 2004 film, Madhouse, which is why I gave Furnace a chance.
This film had a lot going for it — a recognizable cast, creepy setting, and a director who I personally feel puts his heart and soul into his work. What went wrong? How can something starring Michael Paré, Tom Sizemore, Danny Trejo, and Ja Rule (hey, he was ok in the Assault on Precinct 13 remake) be a below average horror film? It’s all in the execution (pun intended).
Furnace feels extremely rushed and lacks any real depth in character development, which was done so nicely in Madhouse. The plot centers around a prison with a dark past, hidden secrets, and a malevolent spirit killing anyone who enters the off-limits wing of the prison. Unfortunately, we get our fair share of direct-to-DVD visual effects that look pretty terrible. Granted, I watched it 7 years after its release, but the effects are pretty bad, nonetheless.
There are a few jump scares with a creepy rotting corpse that haunts the prison, but those only work once, if you’re lucky. Elements of the 1988 film, Prison, are evident, but never pulled off the way Renny Harlin was able to do so.
I really wish this was better and I know it could have been. It’s a silly way to kill off 88 minutes and what the hell, why not? Check it out and let me know if I’m alone in my opinion.
I give this film 2 missing fingers out of 5.