By Dr. Zaius
Thursday, October 3rd, 2019 at 4:12 pm
The Furies Written & Directed by Troy D’Aquino
Cast: Airlie Dodds, Linda Ngo, Taylor Ferguson, Ebony Vagulans, Danielle Horvat, Tom
Odin’s Eye Entertainment
82 minutes | Shudder Exclusive
Release date: October 3, 2019 (U.S. & Canada)
Happy October, everyone! For me it’s just another month on the Horror 365 calendar, but for many, this is the month to binge all things horror, and where better to look than Shudder, AMC’s horror streaming service. Out today on the service is The Furies, an Australian slasher from writer/director Troy D’Aquino. On a tiny budget, D’Aquino packs in some truly gnarly gore effects, some kick ass horror ladies, and a unique twist to set it aside from others in the genre. And this is all packed into 82 adrenaline-pumping minutes.
The Furies will undoubtedly evoke memories of other horror films that pit victims against masked or hidden assailants in a natural setting. I thought of The Strangers (2008) and Wolf Creek (2005) right away and even got vibes of the classic Japanese film Battle Royale (2000). But with that said, The Furies manages to be unique because for nearly the whole first act, the story is secondary to action. Whereas most horror films take most of the first act to establish the characters before dropping them into a deadly situation, D’Aquino gets the “hi, how ya doing” stuff out of the way in less than ten minutes. Before we learn much more than their names, Kayla (Airlie Dodds) and Maddie (Ebony Vagulans) are kidnapped by unseen thugs. Kayla awakes in a box in the woods and soon realizes she’s not alone.
Soon her and other girls are being chased by hulking masked men wielding weapons they got out of the horror movie catalogue. The men are bloody, some adorned in human skin suits a la Leatherface in Texas Chainsaw Massacre, others wearing pig heads. And these guys ain’t messing around. We find out right away, the levels of gore that will be on display as one girl has a face to face meeting with the blade of an axe. Much credit has to go to VFX producer Ryan Ware and his team. Some of the gore is so grotesque and awesome (I’m a sicko), that I was mouth agape watching. Brutal, gnarly, pick your adjective, if you want gore, you will get it and you will like it.
Something is amiss though, as Kayla watches one of the psycho killers save her. During another encounter with a different “hunter,” she fights back only for his head to blow up like he’s wearing the neck explosives in The Running Man (1987). It becomes obvious to her that something is more than meets the eye here. After finding some cabins and signs indicating they’re at an old gold mining camp, she encounters a few other survivors, Rose (Linda Ngo) and Sheena (Taylor Ferguson). It’s there where they realize they’re pawns in some wild game and that perhaps that masked killers are pawns as well. This twist, which I won’t I spoil, ups the movie from a simple slice and dice slasher to a more intriguing and mysterious film.
The Furies is writer/director Troy D’Aquino’s first foray into feature filmmaking and he certainly has a flair for horror and gore. Like Greg McLean, fellow Aussie filmmaker and director of the Wolf Creek films, D’Aquino uses the landscapes to his advantage, maximizes well-earned jump scares, and expertly uses graphic gore. Airlie Dodds and Linda Ngo stood out amongst a cast of headstrong and determined female characters. I’d definitely call The Furies a surprise, and at only 82 minutes, is a must-watch.
The film will be having its Australian premiere at MonsterFest and you can read more about that here. The Furies premiered on Shudder today, Thursday, October 3, 2019. You can get a 7-day free trial by going to shudder.com and it’s only $4.99 a month after that.