HORROR; 1hr 22min
STARRING: Airlie Dodds, Linda Ngo, Taylor Ferguson, Ebony Vagulans
As per Wikipedia, in Greek mythology the Furies were “deities of vengeance, sometimes referred to as ‘infernal goddesses.’ ” Screenwriter and debut feature director Tony D’Aquino keeps his eye squarely on that infernal prize, charging into his macabre opening scene with a drive that never drops its wrecking ball.
In a scenario hard-wired for icky highs, Kayla (Dodds) and her best friend Maddie (Vagulans) are snatched from a deserted street by person or persons unknown and depraved. When Kayla comes to, she’s inside a box, ominously labelled Beauty 6, deep within an isolated forest where brawny, grotesquely masked, axe- and scythe-wielding men in unbecoming overalls are on a murderous rampage.
Since the killers communicate only in bestial grunts and roars, there’ll obviously be no words of wisdom from them. Plus, Kayla is an epileptic in urgent need of the medication that her captors have meanly relieved her of. Nonetheless, she fares better than the female fellow sufferers she encounters, turncoats Rose and Sheena (Ngo and Ferguson) being leaders of the wolf pack.
Still with us? You may wish you weren’t, unless excavated eyeballs and exploding heads are top of your must-sees. In the plus column, Dodds’s cautious Kayla grows a backbone quick-smart, squaring up as a fearsome rogue warrior. On the minus side (this being a slippery slope slasher) lurks just about everything else.
In his director’s statement, D’Aquino notes that his holus-bolus hell “is designed to challenge the current construct of a misogynist, patriarchal society … whilst scaring the crap out of people.” Or then again, maybe not…The bloodlust is cannily gross and the crumbling relationships work a Lord of the Flies vibe. But terror triggers are subjectively touch-and-go, and from where I was sitting (while squirming, admittedly; credit where it’s due), the flailing hatchets never cut too deep.