The Furies EIFF 2019 film review: the running woman

Tony D’Aquino’s The Furies is The Running Man meets Predators rolled into a slasher

The Furies is a curious mix of slashers, The Running Man and Predators. Kayla (Airlie Dodds) is kidnapped, waking up in a coffin-like box in the Australian wilderness. Meeting a few other young women who barely know more about their mysterious circumstances, Kayla tries to both locate her fellow kidnapped friend and evade the grotesque masked maniacs hunting them. An epilepsy-sufferer, Kayla has fits that reveal that the women’s armed pursuers may be tracking their movements through implanted cameras. And they may not be the only ones watching this most dangerous game.

In Greek mythology, the Erinyes, also known as ‘The Furies’, were three goddesses of vengeance, dispensing punishment upon those perceived as doing wrong. In The Furies, Kayla repeatedly finds herself in scenarios where she’s paired up with two other women. At various points, a member of whichever trio she’s in during a particular act of the film tends to display a key characteristic relevant to one of the three goddesses. Elsewhere, a major character introduction is framed against ‘Fuck Patriarchy’ graffiti and, by this writer’s count, there’s no dialogue from a man until the denouement, nor the unmasked face of one until then.

The overriding concern of this all-female focused story, then, would seem to be one of women rising up against the cruel systems in which their fate is determined by the machinations of monstrous men. Kayla, at one point, asks why this had to happen to them, to which someone succinctly responds, “Because it’s a fucked-up world full of fucked-up men.”

While the extensive nods to a feminist through line are admirable, they ultimately come across as mere lip service in light of the wider execution, with just one such example concerning the literal executions: the relishing in the destruction of these women’s bodies via admittedly strong practical effects jars with the messages. And while Dodds is a compelling presence, she can only inject so much energy into the convoluted mess.