The Furies at EIFF: exasperating schlock
You’ve already seen Tony D’Aquino’s The Furies, but you’ve seen it done much better than this. A pretty laughable ‘characters are hunted in the woods by masked antagonists whilst rich people watch over video link’ slice of schlock, notable only for its extreme gore and all-time awful acting, its disappointing in almost every respect.
Airlie Dodds and Ebony Vagulans star as vague character sketches Kayla and Maddie, two adults aged around 25-30 who are playing 17/18-year-olds heading off to college. When Maddie says ‘You’re going off to college’, a laugh actually erupted from the audience. For some reason, when we meet the pair, Maddie is crudely spraying ‘Fuck the Patriarchy’ under a bridge, as if D’Aquino is signalling some sort of political agenda in this beige, predictable pool of sludge – if that’s the case, I’m not sure what that agenda might be.
Before we can sigh with exasperation (just), our two protagonists find themselves drugged, kidnapped, and waking up in the middle of the woods in black boxes. They’re separated, but by some scientifically impossible and laughable accident (trust me, it’s a hoot), Kayla is able to see through the eyes of one of the ‘beasts’ hunting her, and thus identifies the whereabouts of her friend.
What follows is a largely conventional, dull chase through the woods with an unlikeable cast and few surprises. Most ridiculously, Linda Ngo (who must be around 25?) appears, playing a character who’s supposed to be around 10-13 years old. Not only that, but she plays the part as if in a pantomime or a children’s TV show, with exaggerated facial expressions and a grating, whiny intonation that permeates her every word. Pretty much everything that Rose says or does – which takes up a lot of The Furies – got a booming, unintentional laugh from the audience. It doesn’t help that Dodds and Vagulans also come off as exceedingly stagey and amateurish – every overly-scripted, unbelievable line exits the screen with a stilted, studenty feel that propels the film further and further into sluggish mediocrity.
Cinematography is bland and uninspired – looking incredibly cheap – whilst the score is predictably generic. If there’s one thing that does work well, it’s the gore. If you’re one for practical effects, it feels as if at least 50% of this film’s budget was blown on creating realistic prosthetics and effective blood sprays. One particularly nasty kill – which happens to be the first – reaches quasi-operatic levels of sadism that saw nervous/incredulous laughter ripple through the auditorium. That might be enough to attract fans of more extreme horror, but even those must bear in mind that they’re watching this solely for the splatter.
Ultimately, there’s very little to recommend in The Furies. The script is terrible, the acting is poor, and the storyline is so reheated it’s lost any texture. Although there’s an impressive level of skill on show in the effects department, that’s not enough to sustain a film, and it’s hard to see this making it any further than Netflix (even that feels optimistic at this point). I don’t really have anything else to say.