Comparing one of the year’s goriest and intense horror films to a fairytale might seem a little odd, but it’s not a bad way to describe upcoming Aussie flick The Furies, which, as lead actor Airlie Dodds tells Supanova, channels “the darker aspects of [fairytales]”.
The Australian actor has just landed in Melbourne after attending a screening of the film at Sitges Film Festival, an experience she describes as “weird”.
“In Spain, everyone’s pretty fanatical and extroverted and there are no reservations about being really into the more rotten components of the film,” Dodds tells.
“It’s kind of funny to come back to Australia, because I didn’t notice that we’re quite an introverted kind of audience.”
The film was written and directed by Tony D’Aquino, and Dodds stars as Kayla, a woman who is kidnapped and finds herself an unwilling participant in a deadly game.
“Tony’s an ‘80s horror fan, so his favourite films are The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Most Dangerous Game, etc., and if you watch the film, you’ll see that he’s not really afraid to wear those influences.
“But, at its core, the film is kind of The Hunger Games meets The Most Dangerous Game with a sci-fi twist.”
Outside of a role in 2016’s Killing Ground, which was overseen by The Furies producer Lisa Shaunessy, Dobbs is still fairly new to the realm of horror.
“When I was a kid, my sister used to have these sleepovers and they’d just watch slasher after slasher after slasher, so I remember ‘90s classic slashes like I Know What You Did Last Summer and Scream and all of those,” she says.
“When I brought those cheap ones to the table, Tony was like, ‘Whaaaat? Oh, Airlie, there’s many more out there.'”
It was D’Aquino who originally gave Dodds the fairytale comparison, “because when you think about growing up, everything cost something.”
“It’s that’s scary, messy, nightmare of adolescents. Your worst nightmare is that you’re taken away from your parents and your best friends, and you are put into this situation where you have to fend for yourself, which is the actual story of life.”
“That’s what drew me in, because we all have certain ideas of who we are and they’re fairly concrete as life goes on, but we just don’t know. And I really liked that, I thought that was quite compelling.”
Overall, The Furies is “fun and reminiscent, but also quite thrilling” and extremely gory.
“Why do people like watching gore?” Dobbs asked D’Aquino on set.
“And he was like, ‘Because it’s the interior. It’s the extension of what we see in the mind.’
“I remember the day we filmed the kill that has gotten a lot of attention, and he was jumping up and down and was just so excited, in a Willy Wonka sense.
“I asked him about that moment and he said, ‘I wondered at that moment if I’d gone too far or pushed it too far.’”
The fantastic effects and prosthetics can be attributed to Larry van Duynhoven.
“I remember one time, I was screwing this thing into one of the monsters when I kill him, and we didn’t know what to do because it broke. It just broke,” she reveals.
“And we didn’t have a spare one. He looked at me and he goes, ‘Look, it’s okay, everyone’s stressed.’ And I just said, ‘I’m so sorry.’ And we tapped it up. He’s was just this incredible guy.”
The film was shot over 20 days, and Dodds describes the experience as “eat, sleep, work, repeat”, with only a few takes per scene, if that.
“It was really helpful for me – the fact that it has to be done can kind of really rally you up. There’s no other take. We just have to move on.”
After screening at Monster Fest in Sydney on October 31, The Furies will be in cinemas from November 7.