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Max McLachlan terrifies and captivates audiences with new horror flick ‘The Furies’

Despite having parents that both were filmmakers, Max McLachlan was not interested in the industry growing up. Instead, living on the Northern Beaches of Sydney, Australia, he spent his time surfing. When he was a teenager, he and his brother began taking videos of each other surfing on a small handy-cam, and McLachlan discovered he had an innate talent looking through the lens of a camera. He began to make more movies in his spare time, making stop-motion animation with toys, meticulously moving each figurine frame-by-frame to achieve a linear story. By the time he was 18, he knew that this wasn’t a hobby anymore, but a passion he could not shake.

Now, McLachlan is far from that boy filming his toys in his room and is an in-demand cinematographer and Steadicam operator in Australia and abroad. He has worked alongside some of the entertainment industry’s biggest stars from the celebrity coaches on The Voice Australia to Murray Cook, part of the iconic children’s phenomenon The Wiggles, who was in the DZ Deathray music video “Like People” that McLachlan filmed. His work has gone on to be recognized worldwide, critically acclaimed and taking home awards, such as the impactful documentary The Mystery of the Gnaraloo Sea Turtles. Every day that he works behind the camera, he thinks to himself that he is the luckiest person alive, that he gets to do what he truly loves.

“What I love most about cinematography is helping the director realise their vision through the lens. There is nothing more satisfying than lining up a shot and showing the director who then says, ‘That’s exactly what I imagined!’. I also love working with people from different departments like lighting and art to achieve the director's vision. What I love most about Steadicam specifically is the dynamic look it can achieve no matter the environment or terrain. If a Steadicam shot is executed perfectly, the viewer won’t even realise the camera has moved through a space over a period of time with no cutting or edits. Steadicam is also a great tool for giving the viewer perspective of a certain character as the brain naturally stabilises the images our eyes capture, so the viewer naturally feels like they are looking through the eyes of the character whenever a shot involves Steadicam,” he said.

This year, McLachlan had the chance to work as a Steadicam operator for the Thriller The Furies, an experience he calls the highlight of his esteemed career. The story involved multiple action sequences with stunt doubles, fight choreographers and special effects makeup. He knew it would be the ideal opportunity to once again show the world what he was capable of with a camera. Working alongside Director of Photographer Garry Richards, an accomplished and decorated Australian cinematographer, McLachlan took a scary script and turned it into a terrifying and captivating visual experience.

The Furies tells the story of a woman who is kidnapped and finds herself an unwilling participant in a deadly game where women are hunted by masked men. McLachlan describes it as a mixture of The Hunger Games and Texas Chainsaw Massacre, both films that he loves.

“The story doesn’t just revolve around needless violence. The story empowers the female characters as they eventually begin to fight back against the killers that are released on them. Too often these horror/slasher films result in everyone dying and no real resolution being reached. Whereas in The Furies, which is literally named after three Greek goddesses of vengeance, the female characters fight back and actually stand a chance against these grotesque, genetically modified killers,” said McLachlan.

Working on The Furies was one of the most challenging yet rewarding projects McLachlan has ever worked on. His work as Steadicam operator and B cam operator was essential in telling the story, as the Steadicam was used as a POV of various characters throughout the film. He would often have to position a cast member just next to him so that they could bring their hand or arm into frame as if the camera was their perspective and reach for something or grasp a weapon.

McLachlan would often offer suggestions from a Steadicam perspective about how a shot could become more dynamic or impactful, which is what makes him such a valuable asset on a set. His ideas are often used when it comes time to shoot, as he knows how to capture an enthralling shot.

“Working on such a large-scale shoot with so many moving parts was daunting but also exhilarating once we would look back at the footage and you would hear the impressed gasps from crew members watching on,” he said.

The Furies was shortlisted to premiere at SXSW but was picked up and premiered by Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival in early April. Following this, the film got its domestic premiere to a sold-out crowd at FrightFest on the Gold Coast, Queensland. It is one of only five Australian films to have been invited to play at the 73rd edition of the Edinburgh International Film Festival. It will also have its Asian premiere at the Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival. The film has secured North American and European distribution rights for late 2019 and will be making its way to theatres around the world later this year.

By Annabelle Lee
June 10th, 2019

Max McLachlan terrifies and captivates audiences with new horror flick ‘The Furies’ Reviewed by JaamZIN on 6:27:00 AM Rating: 5
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