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FrightFest 2019 Review - THE FURIES

the furies review
A woman wakes up in a forest to find she's the prey in a human hunt.

Review by Eric Hillis

Directed by: Tony D'Aquino

Starring: Airlie Dodds, Linda Ngo, Taylor Ferguson, Ebony Vagulans, Danielle Horvat

the furies poster


Men huh? What a bunch of gits we are. When we're not starting wars over the price of oil or destroying the environment for...well, the price of oil, we're donning human skin masks and chasing young women around the Australian outback. But are women really any better? The likes of Aung San Suu Kyi, Imelda Marcos and Hilary Clinton have shown that women are just as capable of committing atrocities when they find themselves in positions of power, and if you've ever wandered through a city centre when the pubs are spilling out you'll be aware of the savagery women are wont to inflict on each other after a few shandies.


the furies review

Tony D'Aquino's The Furies might seem on the surface like another horror movie cheaply offering a pseudo-feminist slant on the genre, but as its narrative progresses it evolves from a reductive men=bad, women=good screed to a more nuanced look at how women so often betray their feminist ideals when it threatens their personal advancement.

[ Read more: FrightFest 2019 Review - Come to Daddy ]

The Furies opens with a woman spraying the words "Fuck Patriarchy" on a wall, and instantly D'Aquino seems to be commenting on how easily filmmakers can cash in on a political movement without putting any real work in. The words are scrawled by the rebellious Maddie (Ebony Vagulans), who gets in an argument with her friend Kayla (Airlie Dodds) over the latter's refusal to break the rules and stand up for herself.


the furies review

Later that night, Kayla suffers one of her regular epileptic fits, but when she wakes up she finds herself in a box labelled "Beauty 6", which has been dumped in a remote forest. Kayla is quickly joined by two more women who reveal that they too are in the same predicament, and that a group of armed men clad in masks and armour are hunting them in some sort of deadly sport.

[ Read more: FrightFest 2019 Review - The Dark Red ]

What seems initially like a simple riff on the old Most Dangerous Game concept of humans hunting humans is gradually revealed to be something more complex. D'Aquino has come up with a unique take on this premise, with a relationship between the male hunters and their female prey that I won't spoil here, but which introduces a fascinating dynamic that the movie never quite explores to its full potential.


the furies review

Humans being awful to one another is a sub-genre that Australian cinema has excelled in since the '70s, so it's no surprise that The Furies hooks you in from the start. As you would expect from an Ozploitation movie, it delivers on the nastiness (a face cleaved off is a rubbery effect that you won't quickly forget) but never simply relies on gore. There's a brain behind its brawn as it raises questions regarding how brittle our political and moral fibre can be when tested. That said, you get the sense that as a man critiquing superficial feminism, D'Aquino is unable to truly delve into this novel and timely idea the way a woman filmmaker might.

The Furies is on Digital HD September 16th.


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