The Furies, from director Tony D’Aquino, is a brutal and suspenseful Australian take on the Battle Royale genre. Part Hunger Games, part Friday the 13th and part Halloween, The Furies is a tour de force of violence, action and thrills. Filmed outside Canberra, the scenery and environment are both familiar and foreign. Dominated by ghostly white gum trees and blackened earth, even an abandoned mining town can’t provide refuge from the terror.
Inspired by the horror and slasher films of the ’80s, The Furies looks at society through a lens of misogynist violence. The beginning of the film sees Airlie Dodds’ Kayla and Ebony Vagulans’ Maddie spraying “Fuck the Patriarchy” in a pedestrian tunnel.
This sets the tone for what follows as both girls are kidnapped by mystery figures and awaken as participants in a terrifying game of murder and mayhem.
Director Tony D’Aquino describes The Furies as examining our “male-dominated and misogynist society.”
Stalked by “The Beasts,” each of the Beauties, including Kayla and Maddy, have to survive and in true Battle Royale fashion, the last one standing wins. However, in The Furies, there’s a twist.
Each Beauty is partnered with a Beast and each Beast has a specific target. What follows is a terrifying game of cat and mouse while the Beauties try to survive and not turn on each other to improve their odds of survival.
Shocking graphic violence and brutal murders are interspersed with psychological drama which creates a frantic, breakneck pace that never lets up. Stalked by the Beasts — named Rotface, Skincrow, Pigman etc — the film is anchored by Dodds’ brilliant performance and gradually evolving portrayal of Kayla.
While the opening scenes of The Furies set the tone for the film’s commentary on misogyny and patriarchal society, Dodds and Vagulans struggle to make an argument between Kayla and Maddy authentic. It’s an odd detractor for a film that has few other negatives,
Kayla and Maddy’s bond of friendship is a clear throughline throughout The Furies and Kayla’s insistence on finding her friend at all costs is vastly contrasted by the Beasts singular focus on murder. Even some of the other female characters give into more base impulses and attempt to use the Beasts and other Beauties to their advantage.
For a film that graphically depicts insane acts of violence, there’s an incredible subtext at play with nuanced and thoughtful ideas about men, women and society. It’s easy to miss amongst the blood and gore but it’s definitely there.
And makes The Furies all the more worthwhile and rewarding to watch.
The Furies is gory, violent and brutal but once it starts it’s hard to take your eyes off. Dodd’s performance is incredible and grounds proceedings in a reality that while not entirely true-to-life is believable and authentic enough to be terrifying.
Horror fans, especially those who like gore, will love The Furies. It’s well worth a watch and is an incredible effort for an Australian production.
The Furies is in cinemas across Australia from today, November 7, 2019.
Movie title: The Furies
Movie description: Kidnapped and afraid, a woman finds herself fighting to stay alive as an unwilling participant in a deadly game where women are hunted by masked men.
Director(s): Tony D'Aquino