Actress Airlie Dodds runs screaming through a forest of ghost gums from an unknown assailant.
The landscape looks familiar, something confirmed when she runs out onto the bed of Lake George, wind farm in the far distance.
There seems to be hope literally on the horizon.
The scene is from the upcoming feature film The Furies, produced and shot locally in the Canberra region and with the support of Screen Canberra.
The horror film, which hits cinemas on November 7, makes great use of Canberra's unique landscapes to create a sense of atmosphere unlike any other I can recall - in a horror film, at least.
"It was fun making a horror film in broad daylight, you don't get to do that very often," says producer Lisa Shaunessy.
"Our cinematographer Gary Richards did such a beautiful job capturing the eeriness of the ghost gums," she says.
"Perhaps we've invented a new genre - Ghost Gum Horror."
Shaunessy comes with a pedigree - she produced the clever, low-budget West Australian horror Killing Ground in 2016 - to a production that had been workshopped through local film office Screen Canberra's Accelerator Film Pod.
"Tony D'Aquino, the writer-director, did a phenomenal job through that process," Screen Canberra chief executive Monica Penders says.
"The market reacted to his concept, an homage to the slasher films of the 1980s."
Through a mix of the federal government's Producer Offset incentive, support from Screen Canberra, and investment mostly from local Canberra investors, the production raised its $1.5 million budget and began shooting in the region in early 2018.
"This was possibly my best filming experience," Shaunessy says.
"Canberra gives you fantastic locations - the city, mountains, the lake, the wind turbines, the forest - and it felt like Canberra really welcomed having a film shoot going on here, where in in Sydney it's tough to make a movie when you're contending with traffic and parking and council costs adding up.
"In fact, I'm looking to bringing my next film to Canberra I loved shooting there so much."
In The Furies, Airlie Dodds' character Kayla, along with those of Ebony Vagulans (My Life is Murder), Linda Ngo (Top Of The Lake: China Girl) and Taylor Ferguson (Glitch) wake up in a classic horror-film scenario.
Having been abducted, they awake in boxes placed in a remote bush location. "Beauty 6" is stencilled on the side of Kayla's box - the implication being there might be a "beast" out there to match.
The beasts do quickly turn up - the genre being explored is the "hunting humans for sport" scenario audiences of Arnold Schwarzenegger's Predator will be familiar with.
Characters slowly meet various gruesome ends, in ways that Ozploitation enthusiasts will enjoy.
The unique film location was a drawcard for lead actress Airlie Dodds, who screams and fights her way through this production.
The landscape was familiar to the now-Melbourne-based actress, whose parents had a weekender outside Yass while growing up.
"The confusing nature of those twisted trees, their arid quality, the way the colours shift and slide," Dodds says.
"They just ensconce my character and help give that feeling of genuine hysteria, especially in those first few minutes of the film where I'm running and discombobulated."
Dodds had a run on Neighbours in 2014 and has been building an impressive resume since, including work on House of Bond in 2017 and recently the feature film Book Week, ABC series Harrow and the upcoming series The Gloaming.
Dodds says she fell into acting after attending an open call for a play with the Australian Theatre for Young People at age 16.
"The door closed behind me and I thought 'I really want to do this', and I've been trying to figure out how to do it since then, she says.
For Dodds, the Canberra landscape helped her build her character.
"Before shooting, you can have a million ideas about where you're going to go," she says.
"And what happens in the course of filming, you find yourself navigating your environment and working through the choices your character would naturally make in that environment."
Nearly 18 months after filming, Dodds says it feels strange watching herself on screen as Kayla, which she remembers as "20 days of running, running, running".
"With such a tight shooting schedule you only got two or three takes; it was a condensed experience, high-octane and a little surreal," she says.
"I'm 25 now and I feel a lot calmer ... so seeing myself up on screen getting all worked up about things is so funny."
Dodds has only recently returned from seeing the film with some of the world's harshest horror genre critics at the Sitges Film Festival.
If you've made a horror film, this is your Cannes.
"This was a new audience for me," Dodds says.
"Seeing people jeer and scream and completely take the film as it wants to be taken was really energising and cool.
"I didn't know much about horror besides watching slasher films at my sister's sleepovers as a girl.
"But I was drawn to the survival component of it.
"Everyone in Australia is shy of praise, but Tony (D'Aquino, the film's writer-director) has done an amazing job."
Busy completing production on her newest film, Shaunessy says she had the "worst FOMO ever" as cast and crew sent her pictures from the film's recent spate of successful overseas film festival screenings.
This included winning the Best Death prize at FrightFest in the UK last month, having beaten out 78 other films.
"A lot of horror films can be quite derivative," says Shaunessy, who began receiving a lot of low-budget horror scripts on the back of the success of Killing Ground, which was invited to the Sundance Film Festival in January 2017.
"For me the unique factor with Killing Ground was the deep question of how would a relationship cope with the intense pressure," she says of the film, in which characters played by Harriet Dyer and Ian Meadows are pursued by killers in a remote WA camping site.
"With The Furies, the difference for me was the opportunity to work with the prosthetics and the level of gore, because genre fans love in-camera effects done really well."
The "in-camera effects" Shaunessy is referring to are the film's impressive prosthetics and special effects from artist Larry van Duynhoven and his team, who work in the physical effects and gore of films of old, from the days before computer-generated imagery.
For the "beasts" in the film, a team of actors wear what appear to be skin suits, one with apparently the face of a pig, another stitched together Frankenstein-style, to create a unique set of "bad guys".
They also produce a number of gory and believable death scenes, with work they perfected on Hollywood productions like Mel Gibson's Hacksaw Ridge, also shot locally.
Continuing her thoughts on what makes for a unique horror film, Shaunessy says she also looks for "a strong female protagonist at its core, who could potentially carry on into a (sequel)".
"The Furies is about lone women fighting their way out of essentially a game," she says.
"And the thing I learned from Killing Ground was that what we see when we put a woman in danger wasn't a damsel in distress but that women are quite ferocious, tenacious, survivalist, and that when you give a great actress a meaty role you get a fantastic performance."
The Furies is an impressive production that has already drawn critical praise from its overseas screenings, including film industry publication Variety's stamp of approval. Critic Richard Kuipers said: "The well-produced Ozploitation effort has the heavy-duty gore to excite horror hounds and packs enough of a girl-power punch to avoid dismissal as just another misogynist slasher movie".
- The Furies opens in cinemas 7 November.