Review: J Zachary Thurman’s Furry Nights

You might recognize Furry Nights before reading this review since it was self-released in 2016. Luckily, digital distribution giant Terror Films has scooped up the horror-thriller from Unplugged Films and Nighthawk Studios, and re-released it to all major video on demand platforms on Friday, October 12th. Now, you’re probably wondering if Furry Nights is deserving of a second wind, and in this case, I do think the extra attention is warranted. After finishing my viewing, I would consider it a bizarre run in the woods that slipped through the cracks. Written by J Zachary Thurman and Keith Dowsett, Furry Nights follows a small group of young film-makers who venture into a dense forest to shoot a zero budget creature feature. As night falls, they think they’re under attack by a grizzly bear, and only upon killing it do they realize it was a man in a costume. Now, his animal suit wearing companions are out for sex and revenge, and the teenagers are about to make a movie far scarier than they ever imagined. Madison Stroud, J Zachary Thurman, Brian Jones, Keith Dowsett, Amelia Harkleroad, Allison Joy McDaniel and Sebastian Moreno star in Furry Nights, an odd combination of The Purge, The Blair Witch Project and the killer animals from South Park’s Woodland Critter Christmas special.

If I understand correctly, the furry fetish doesn’t necessarily pertain to sex only. There’s large meet-ups at venues around the world where people dress up as animals just to interact with others who possess the same hobby. It’s a little creepy as an outsider looking in, but I guess we all have our odd fantasies. That’s perhaps what’s so off-putting about Furry Nights, you don’t really know what’s going on behind the costume and you get less expression and mannerisms from furries than you do clowns, for instance. When watching Furry Nights, some scenes are just downright bizarre and I had to wonder why the writers thought this was the right way to go with a backwoods horror-thriller. Having finished the movie now, I actually think this was the perfect story to showcase villains who are out for revenge and happen to live a lifestyle not yet embraced by the mainstream media. It’s original, if not completely uncomfortable, but I dug it. It’s almost like The Strangers, but the killers are wearing Barney costumes. However, once you get over the slightly mediocre acting and the slightly ridiculous plot, Furry Nights is a surprising horror film and a bonefied suspense thriller. And I enjoyed it!

I certainly wasn’t expecting that, or for this film to even be that good. But it was! Director/cinematographer J Zachary Thurman and producer Keith Dowsett decided to shoot this feature film with a lot of retro elements that inheritance built the action and suspense. The scores, and even a shot that reminded me of Jason Voorhees at Camp Crystal Lake. Furry Nights is far from age appropriate and it’s got a ton of gore, especially near the end. I’m not sure if I was a fan of shooting it partially in the found footage style and the majority as a narrative film, but I get what they were trying to do there. Still, the camera work, especially at night, was surprisingly perfect and the audio was just as good. Furry Nights has incredible production value to it, again, as long as you can get past the killers in animal suits. I don’t have much else to say about this one, except for that it’s definitely worth the price of a VOD stream. It’s certainly better than “Purge: The TV Series,” and would be a wild addition to your Halloween binge lists. Furry Nights is best enjoyed with a few beers, a few friends, and a lot of pent up sexual energy. Just expect the action, suspense and gore to “come” rather quickly! Well done, guys!

Final Score: 7 out of 10.

Written by Michael Therkelsen

(Senior Editor)