With roots in Creepypasta – basically, horror memes before we used the word
meme – comes 47 Hours to Live, a movie a whole lot better than most of its ilk.
The premise is as simple as most Creepypasta stories are. We follow (alleged) teenagers Rose (Annie Hamilton) and Cadence (Allie Marie Evans), who, in a fit of boredom, play a game they find online. In it, the players set a phone’s photo timer and pass it back and forth while reciting a chant. The person holding the phone when the camera flashes is cursed to die within forty-seven hours unless they play and win the game against someone else.
It’s a predictable – some might say a bit tired – conceit, and it should surprise no one that one of the characters believes the story while the other doesn’t until creepy things start happening. Can they lift the curse, or are they destined to pass a phone between them every other day for the rest of their lives?
Within 47 Hours to Live’s simple shell lies a surprisingly entertaining and heartfelt gem. I doubt anyone will jump behind their couch in sheer fright from it, but the film still works as straight horror entertainment. There are slick visual scares – Cadence seeing herself on a movie screen is a highlight – most more fun than scary. I would imagine the film would have worked well in the theaters with
look behind you!-level audience participation.
More unexpected is the quality of the basic high-school drama. Straitlaced Rose and Kurt Cobain-reincarnated Cadence are vastly different on the surface, but the bond they share through experiences with abuse make for multi-dimensional characters rarely seen in Creepypasta movies. Hamilton and Evans both put in convincing performances, leading a pack of unknown but competent actors.
There’s a lot to like about 47 Hours to Live, then. Would I run and proclaim it to be a great, unsung horror gem for the masses? Maybe not quite, as it’s still a niche movie in the Creepypasta realm. Yet it certainly doesn’t deserve to rot in Prime Video’s darker corners, which I suspect is the case. 47 Hours to Live is well made and is a whole lot more A than B-grade. I’ve watched it twice, so consider that a fairly firm endorsement.
About that central conceit
I am fuzzy on the titular forty-seven hours, a number that seems somewhat random. Does it mean you have forty-seven hours and fifty-nine minutes, and then you die? Or do you die at the exact forty-seven-hour mark as a giant psych! to anyone who thinks they have two full days to live? The movie does not seem interested in delving into these details, so maybe I’m an outlier here.
(I mean, is the evil spirit just so playful it decided to go with one hour less than two days? What is its motivation? OK, I’ll stop.)
Those Creepypasta films, ranked
- We’re All Going to the World’s Fair
- Butterfly Kisses
- The Toll
- 47 Hours to Live
- Always Watching: A Marble Hornets Story
- Slender Man
- The Tall Man
Letterboxd summary: Two socially awkward teenage girls, are bored one night and turn to the internet for scary stories. They find a game on a creepy website that claims you can use your phone to summon the supernatural...and if you lose the game...you lose your life.
Ratings from around the web
|One Star Classics||3/6|