There are some people in this godforsaken world who simply can’t leave a haunted piece of land well enough alone. The site of the current Blackgate Prison was once a tribal burial ground, and over the last several hundred years the property has developed a rich history of death and carnage, but still, the government has decided to erect a prison on it.
Looking to free some room for a busload of extra criminals being transferred to Blackgate, a detail of prisoners and guards sledgehammer some walls and discover a shitload of undiscovered space, including a foreboding furnace. Once the scary furnace is discovered, the number of prison suicides increases substantially. And hey man, these prisoners aren’t taking fistfuls of Ambien until they tumble into a black oblivion, they’re ending it all by boiling their own faces off in a scalding sink of water. Blackgate is the host to some extremely brutal suicides, is what I’m saying.
Detective Michael Turner (a supremely uninterested Michael Pare, perhaps disenchanted with genre work following his VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED experience) is called in to investigate the accelerated death rate. He matches “wits” with Frank Miller (a subdued Tom Sizemore, on some sort of court-ordered meth hiatus, obviously not the same guy who rocked enough uppers to down a quarterhorse in NATURAL BORN KILLERS), a sadistic prison guard who may have a grimy hand in the prison’s drug trade. As Ja Rule succinctly encapsulates: “There is some deep dark shit going on in here.”
A poorly paced investigation ensues, and it looks like the warden’s dead daughter, burned in a fire way back in the day, is responsible for the crazy-ass suicides, but as always, it turns out that Tom Sizemore is still somewhat to blame. Featuring a Michael Pare sex scene that makes the copulating in TOP GUN seem pornographic in comparison, and lacking any scares of intrinsic value, FURNACE is a direct-to-DVD dickjob neutered of any and all potency, released in a completely laughable “UNRATED” edition. Lacking in suspense, logic, and gore, there are almost certainly worse movies out there, but not a whole hell of a lot.