Thursday, October 3, 2019

The Furies (2019)

Kayla and Maddie are school friends and have a blowout argument only to be kidnapped right afterwards by mysterious men. Kayla wakes up alone without her belongings in a box labeled "Beauty 6." She finds herself entrenched in a death game where the rules have to be learned as it goes along. Whether she encounters other beauties or beasts, figuring out who to trust may not be as clearcut as you might think.

The Furies is a fun, fresh, gory reframing of the slasher genre centered around Kayla, a timid college student who never breaks the rules or rocks the boat. She also has epilepsy that leaves her vulnerable and unable to move at the most inopportune moments. When she wakes up in a black box, everything has been taken from her and the stress of the situation aggravates her condition. Her main goal is to find Maddie, leaving behind their trivial but hurtful squabble. As the film goes on, Kayla finds herself doing unimaginable things in order to survive. Even though it's a well worn trope to have the weakest turn around and become the strongest, it's always gratifying to see a badass, disabled woman challenging others' views about her.

The beasts and beauties seem to be paired and the beast will attack everyone except his beauty. The designs for each beast is varied and inspired. One has a whole outfit and mask made from the skins of presumed victims. Another has a deranged baby doll mask and another has a mask that looks like a disgusting mass of sores. None of them seems able to speak but they know who to fight and who to protect. They are all incredibly strong and brutal in their violence with a unique melee weapon. (My favorite was the scythe.) The practical effects are amazing to behold, especially in the face slicing scene in particular. It feels so refreshing after seeing so many horror films rely on CGI blood.

I assumed most of the conflict would be between the beasts and beauties, but I was proven wrong. One beauty takes on a different tactic than sticking together and leaves the weak for slaughter so she can survive. Kayla accidentally kills another beauty, sowing seeds of distrust with the others, and yet another has clingy tendencies that prove fatal in the end. These beauties are not weaklings nor homogenous. Although it's selfish, killing the others or setting them up to die is a valid survival tactic in an extreme situation where it seems you have to play by a sadist's rules. 

The Furies has such a unique and fun view. I know a lot of people didn't like the whole thing being streamed to paying customers, but for me, it was more about the visuals and Kayla's journey. The whole thing takes place in a eucalyptus forest, which gives such a haunting look with the white trees. Kayla, played by Airlie Dodds, has a well developed character arc and she's a wonderful addition to the final girl pantheon. I thoroughly enjoyed the movie, hung on every twist and turn.

My rating: 4.5/5 fishmuffins 

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