The Furies - review

The Furies follows rebellious high school students Kayla (Airlie Dodds) and her best friend Maddie (Ebony Vagulans) who find themselves abducted by a sinister presence. Kayla wakes up in a box in the middle of a forest with no idea how she got there, and no idea of Maddie’s whereabouts. She soon realises she is not alone – men in terrifying masks are stalking six other young women in the woods. As the threat of more killers closes in, Kayla races to save as many girls as she can. But when the girls turn on each other, Kayla's killer instinct is unleashed and she does whatever it takes to survive and seek revenge on her abductors.

I tend to avoid horror films. Not for any highfalutin cinematic reason mind you, but because I'm a scaredy cat. I don’t particularly enjoy jump scares and pushing the boundaries of gore effects ain’t my jam. Now I’m not begrudging those who dig the genre, it’s each to their own. With that in mind, I'll muster the courage to bring you my thoughts on The Furies, the latest offering from Aussie director Tony D’Aquino.

Arlie Dodds shines as Kayla, a young woman who finds strength in the most trying of circumstances. She previously wasn’t on my radar, but I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for her moving forward. Taylor Ferguson and Linda Ngo steal enough screen time to warrant their casting. I fully appreciate that they’re all in the early stages of their careers, but they’re easily the best part of the film.

Like many horror films, The Furies looks as though it’s been delivered on a reasonably modest budget. Sadly these films are asked to compete on an international stage, against productions whose catering bill would probably eclipse this entire production. The film makes the most of its evocative Australian bush setting and use of gruesome practical effects to create an uneasy atmosphere, essential when disturbing the audience is high on the agenda.

The flip side to budget constraints seems to be the ability to be daring when playing with subject matter. In the same way the massive Marvel blockbusters need to play it safe, these down and dirty horror films can take visual and storytelling risks. The Furies contains challenging imagery, which borders on the exploitative. There’s extreme violence against women that some viewers may finding too hard to watch. But maybe that’s the point of these films? Maybe they’re needed to explore darker corridors of storytelling. I’d like to hope the exaggerated violence endured by the victims is part of a larger metaphor, acting as commentary on what women endure in society, unfortunately I'm not sure if the message necessarily pierces through the savage images.

Ultimately, I can’t say I enjoyed my experience with The Furies, but that’s on me not the film. It unsurprisingly hasn’t cured my issues with the genre, but if you’re after a thriller with some decent blood and guts, The Furies won’t let you down. It knows what it is, and doesn’t pretend to be anything else. Which is admirably in my books.

The Furies is playing in select cinemas from November 7. If you see the film and agree or disagree with my thoughts, feel free to drop a line below.

- Stu


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