There’s a lot to be said for ambition. Writer/director Tony D’Aquino clearly has it in spades, as demonstrated in the low-budget Aussie horror flick, The Furies. Although not exactly original in its set up, the film soon forges its own weird identity, replete with striking imagery, plot twists and copious graphic gore.
The Furies opens with two friends, Kayla (Airlie Dodds) and Maddie (Ebony Vagulans) being kidnapped by persons unknown. Kayla wakes up in what looks like a coffin, escaping it to find herself trapped in the middle of nowhere and being stalked by hulking masked figures with names like RotFace, PigFace and Skincrow. Kayla must brave the Australian bush, try to forge relationships with her fellow hunted and track down Maddie, all while staying alive.
What The Furies lacks in originality it makes up for with a gleeful commitment to gore. An early kill has a lady cop an axe to the bonce – where it gets stuck – and the killer extracts the axe, popping her screaming face off like a scab in the process. It’s not entirely convincing (and anatomically extremely dubious) but it’s done with such cheerfully sadistic relish it’s weirdly charming. If you’re a gorehound, that is. Those of a more delicate disposition should stay well, well away because this one is blood splattered for the duration.
Plot-wise The Furies features some unexpected, and occasionally unintentionally hilarious, twists in the back half. And while they can skew silly, there’s something admirable in the director’s singular commitment to this lunatic vision. This could have so easily been a straight slasher film, but we eventually end up with weird conspiracies, biomechanical implants and an oddly convoluted but ambitious mythology.
The Furies isn’t a masterpiece, but it’s a solid contender for ‘second or third movie of the night’ status in a boozed-up horror marathon, when critical faculties have been pleasantly impaired and the heart’s desire is purely for weirdness and gore.