Review: Australian Savage Slasher THE FURIES Is A Bloodsoaked Female Fronted Romp
The slasher is back in a big way and even Shudder knows it. This week sees the release of The Furies, the debut brutal outing from Australian director Tony D’Aquino, in which women are kidnapped by unknown assailants and forced into a terrifying game of twisted cat and mouse.
One night, Kayla (Airlie Dodds) has a fight with her best friend Maddie (Ebony Vagulans) and while storming off, hears her friend scream for help. Seeing Maddie being dragged away by a masked man, Kayla is knocked unconscious before awakening in an abandoned mine shaft and it’s surrounding village-like area. Kayla quickly discovers that large, masked men are hunting her and other women down in a dangerous game of kill-or-be-killed. For every woman they kill, a killers head explodes, forcing the slew of attackers to act fast and violently.
Tony D’Aquino draws inspiration from numerous sources for The Furies, with shades of Wrong Turn, Wolf Creek and even The Purge laced throughout. Alongside cinematographer Garry Richards, D’Aquino does an excellent job at creating daunting landscapes that carry with them a stark emptiness, a feeling of purgatory that hangs over a balance of the film that creates dread and despair. The movie also relies on practical effects and goes real old school with it’s visceral destruction of the human anatomy; there’s a face cleaving scene in this film that should be getting effects team Rachel Scane and Larry Van Duynhoven any gig in the genre that they want. D’Aquino also wrote the script for this particularly grisly stalk and slash and infuses it with a commentary on entertainment, yes, but also a dose of men abusing their power over women and the end results will have you championing for a future that’s female. It offers different lens on the ideal of friendships too, with Maddie and Kayla having a stressed relationship that effects they story in integral ways but conversely shows the hazards of jealousy within friendship, as well as symbiotic behavior, with the character Rose (Linda Ngo.) Rose is introduced as a meek woman that Kayla befriends but develops a toxic relationship with her that pushes her to make some highly questionable decisions.
Airlie Dodds has an excellent character arc as our final girl. She does follow the traditional beats of traditional final girl tropes but Kayla is much more nuanced than some of our standard representations of the character. Overcoming numerous difficulties, including her over-reliance on her friends, bits of epilepsy and a slightly heightened sense of cowtailing to rules, Kayla doesn’t simply walk the path of the final girl, she jumps, runs and sprints and ultimately becomes an intense and vicious killer in her own right. Her journey from meek to fury is done naturally and smartly, with incidents pushing Kayla over the edge in controlled bursts of trauma. Linda Ngo also swings with all her might at her role as Rose, who quickly ascends into lunatic territory, and does it with just a bit of camp that is needed in such an otherwise ferocious film.
The Furies hammers the gas out of the gate and never relents. With a strong female led cast and barbaric practical kills, The Furies stands out as an unrelenting force of slasher goodness.
The Furies is available now on Shudder.