When we were handed the PR for the movie “The Furnace,” we assumed it was another horror flick about a woman who gets trapped somewhere hot….a burning house, or hell, or something.

Turns out The Furnace is the opposite — it’s one of those inspirational movies about an athlete who suffers an injury but struggles really hard and grunts a lot until they’re finally better and can compete again. And it turns out “The Furnace” is the name of an actual marathon race in Africa.

Mary and Matt just got married and if there’s anything they love more than each other, it’s competitive running. So for their honeymoon they buy two tickets to Africa so they can enter The Furnace. As we’ve already spoiled, this doesn’t go well and after a tragic accident Mary loses everything, including Matt.

Now what Mary needs is an inspirational figure to lean on, so enter “Coffin,” the nickname of an ex-doctor who now works as a gravedigger. Coffin used to live in Africa but he had to flee after civil war tore apart his hometown. He decides to help Mary recover and train. Her ultimate goal is to finish The Furnace, but are there simply too many bad memories of the place to make getting through it possible?

The Furnace stars Janie Bernadette as Mary and Luthuli Dlamini as Coffin. It was directed by Darrell Roodt, and nominated for Best Feature Film at the Nice International Film Festival. Look for it later this month on DVD and VOD.

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