If you have any intention of watching The Furies, a new slasher out of Australia making its exclusive streaming premiere on Shudder, don’t read the rest of this review. Don’t read any reviews. Don’t watch a trailer. Do what you can to replicate the experience I had, which was sitting down to watch the film knowing the title and nothing more. It’s the best way to appreciate the way the movie unfolds and the surprises it has in store. Trust me.
While I won’t be spoiling any of the major twists of the film, even knowing the premise is more than I want to spoil. However, this is a review, and you’ve already made the choice to read this far despite being warned. The Furies, the feature debut of writer/director Tony D'Aquino, finds a young woman named Kayla (Airlie Dodds) kidnapped and waking in a box in the middle of the woods. She discovers that masked killers, dubbed “Beasts,” are hunting her and several other girls, dubbed “Beauties,” all of them kidnapped the same way she was. It’s The Most Dangerous Game and The Running Man, only with slashers and final girls, and it’s spectacular. This has to be one of my favorite horror movies of the year.
There’s more to The Furies than that simple but inspired premise, but I don’t dare spoil anything further. Needless to say, writer/director D’Aquino has found something new to do with the slasher movie, a subgenre that feels long dormant and which is traditionally resistant to novelty, defined as it is by the ritualistic sameness of its tropes. It’s not a total reinvention, of course, as much of the joy of The Furies is in just how well it delivers on what we’ve come to love about slashers: namely, terrifying masked killers and brutal, bloody practical gore effects. This movie is positively bursting with both. Fingers, faces, heads, and eyeballs are destroyed, and there’s at least one kill here that’s an all-timer. It’s as though D’Aquino knows exactly what we want out of slasher movies and has decided to make a film that consists only of that stuff. It’s the “Oops! All Berries” of horror movies.
The Furies understands that the way to horror fans’ hearts is to offer something new inside of something familiar. A few turns in the third act and some of the movie’s more science fiction aspects don’t land as well as the rest of it, but it’s all so clever and skillfully executed that it’s hard for me to care that it’s imperfect. A gory blast from start to finish, The Furies is just the shot in the arm that the slasher subgenre needs to become relevant again, and as someone who adores slasher movies, it’s a revival that can’t come soon enough.
Movie Score: 4/5
In addition to its Shudder premiere, The Furies will have its Australian premiere at Monster Fest and will release in Australian cinemas on November 7th.