THE FURIES **** Australia 2019 Dir: Tony D’Aquino. 82 mins
An archetypal heavy breathing, scythe-wielding masked killer in the woods pursues a wounded young woman. A second masked maniac appears from nowhere to disembowel the first. From its very first sequence, writer-director Tony D’Aquino’s dynamic 21st century revisionist slasher movie has fun with the clichés and conventions. Subsequently, epileptic student Airlie Dodds is abducted near her home, waking up in a box labelled “Beauty” in the woodland of historic gold mining town Eureka Springs. Having undergone mysterious post-abduction “procedures”, she encounters two girls in an identical predicament…and a box marked “Beast”. If you’ve been keeping a tally of Greatest 21st Century Horror Movie Kills, it’s a safe bet that THE FURIES will provide at least one new entry for your list: a show-stopping early axe-assisted face-slicing forms part of a crowd-pleasing range of creative splatter set pieces as the women are pursued by variations of iconic past stalkers. A machete-wielding killer with a pig mask nods to MOTEL HELL, a sickle-sporting backwoods loon echoes Leatherface, etc. The set-up risks turning into an episodic, gimmicky jaunt like $LASHER$, but D’Aquino constantly unveils new “rules” and twists as one woman’s potential “killer” becomes another’s “protector” and the dynamic pacing yields much suspense, humour and outstanding old-school gore FX. Dodds gives us a heroine worth rooting for, a contemporary Final Girl who goes through the Mill (and then some) to satiate the thrill-seeking 1%. The core themes are familiar from a range of cynical American horror films (shades of everything from HOSTEL to THE BELKO EXPERIMENT) but the execution makes it feel fresh and dynamic.
Review by Steven West