A hunt is afoot, with Kayla and other young women as the prey. Information about exactly how and why this is happening emerges only gradually, though occasional sinister point-of-view shots accompanied by video glitches reinforce the impression of sophisticated forces behind the scenes.

The main action of the film is reminiscent of The Hunger Games, but with a lot more gore. After several decades of slasher movies, you would think filmmakers would be running out of ways to mistreat the human body, but there are a few variations on the theme here you may not have seen previously, unless you happen to be an aficionado of the form.

From the outset, there are unsubtle hints D’Aquino has conceived the film as a feminist allegory. The wilderness that surrounds the heroines stands explicitly for patriarchy, which not only surrounds them, but has infiltrated their bodies and minds, encouraging them to turn on each other.

But the effort to combine sermonising and sadism at worst feels hypocritical, and even at best has a vaguely self-congratulatory air. After all, many earlier horror films have addressed similar themes without being so heavy-handed about it.

Indeed, D’Aquino’s need to reassure us he has its heart in the right place tends to cancel out the scares, which was also true of the recent Australian horror-comedy Little Monsters, a better film in other respects. Other problems include a couple of weak supporting performances and a final twist that feels predictable and redundant.

Still, The Furies is pacy and extreme enough to hold attention across its brief running time and shows a technical skill that should let it serve as the calling card it’s obviously intended to be.

The strongest suit is Garry Richards’ deliberately muted cinematography, used to accentuate the famous monotony of the Australian bush, which surrounds Kayla and the others on every side, as if there really were no way out.

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