Mary (Jamie Bernadatte) and Matt (Armand Aucamp) are both newlyweds and competitive runners. For their next event, they are planning on entering the Furnace, an annual race that is held at Africa’s biggest game reserve. The race takes several days to complete and it is a challenge for even the most elite runners. The race is called The Furnace because of how hot the temperature gets and how much sweat and hard work it takes to complete the run. Their plans are ruined when, on Christmas Day!, their car is sideswiped by a truck. Matt is killed and Mary ends up bitter and on oxygen. She gives up on ever racing again but, a year later, she meets a man named Coffin (Luthuli Dlamini) who renews her faith in herself. Under his training, she prepares to finally enter the Furnace.
I really liked The Furnace. Coffin, who was a doctor in Africa but can only find work as a gravedigger in America, was an interesting character with an fascinating backstory. Helping Mary run the race race is not only about helping her honor the memory of her late husband but also finding redemption for himself. Once Mary enters the race, she has to deal with both the heat and the wild animals. She even gets stung by a scorpion! She has to do it all on her own while Coffin waits for her at the next rest stop and worries about whether or not he’s accidentally led Mary into a deathtrap. But, no matter how hard things get, Mary never gives up because The Furnace is not about winning but about having the courage to see things through to the end. The Furnace is an inspiring movie about people helping each other, never surrendering, and finding the faith to keep going even when everything seems to be lost.