The very nature of a slasher film is simply an elaborate game of cat and mouse, hunter and prey, assailant and victim. It’s a thrill to watch unfold on screen when your heartbeat can quicken from the comfort of your living room. Of course, there are some strange people out in the world who might want to replicate that feeling of dominance in real life – as we’ve seen in films like Hostel and Happy Hunting. Tony D’Aquino’s feature debut The Furies (which my dad mistakenly read as ‘The Furries’, an entirely different film indeed) joins these ranks with its brutally gory game of cat and mouse as multiple women are pitted against weapon-wielding masked men in the Australian bush.
One of these women is Kayla (Airlie Dodds), an epileptic who wakes up in a box labelled ‘Beauty #6’, completely unaware of how she got there. It is not long before she’s being pursued by several different men. Dressed in horrific costumes that merge the likes of Hatchet’s Victor Crowley and Texas Chainsaw’s Leatherface with animal references− sewn together pieces of skin, masks, wood and nails largely covered in blood−its quite clear that these guys aren’t here to show her the way out of the forest. Its also not long before other women seem to surface, Kayla quickly takes the incredibly timid Rose (Linda Ngo) under her wing as they try to find Kayla’s friend Maddie (Ebony Vagulans), who was also captured at the same time.
Unfortunately for these men, they picked the wrong girl to mess with. Swiftly transforming into a murderous avenging angel, Kayla proves her chops on the battle ground against what we come to know as ‘The Beast’s. On both sides of the competition the kills are second to none, this is some of the best, most disgusting gore you will see all year and for fans of the red stuff The Furies does not disappoint. D’Aquino elevates what could just be surface-level violence with an intriguing concept (best left unexplained if you haven’t seen it yet) that challenges the ideas of submissive women vs. dominant men and the way that we consume (and become de-sensitised to) violence and how this violence is often specifically gendered. This is of course a deeper reading on my part than the film only briefly touches upon, but the film feels like there’s an outside world and a greater plan that exist within this one story that would be an interesting jumping off point for a future instalment.
Added thrills come from the unknown number of girls and killers at play (every box found lists a different non-chronological number) and the fact that the lines between friend and foe are so consistently blurred with both parties. D’Aquino plays with common tropes of your typical slasher film but bends them to his will to deliver several twists and turns. Its like all your favourite slasher movies play out at once and only one final girl and one masked psycho can take the trophy home, so as you can expect, there’s a lot of carnage.
The Furies game of cat and mouse is hardly a wildly original tale, but the sheer volume of its participants makes for some seriously entertaining horror. Thanks to its exquisite killer design and special effects makeup this is one brutal and bloody film that might never let you look at the idea of Beauty & the Beast in the same way again.
The Furies is available to stream on Shudder now
by Chloe Leeson
Chloe Leeson is the founder of SQ. She hails from the north of England (the proper north that people think is actually Scotland but isn’t). Her life source is Harmony Korine’s 90s Letterman interviews and Ezra Miller’s jawline. She is a costume designer for hire who spends far too much time watching bad horror movies. Her favourite films are Into The Wild, Lords of Dogtown, Stand by Me and Pan’s Labyrinth. She rants about cinema screenings @kawaiigoff and logs them on letterboxd here