Title – Raw (2016)
Director – Julia Ducournau (feature debut)
Cast – Garance Marillier, Ella Rumpf, Rabah Nait Oufella
Plot – Vegetarian vet school student Justine (Marillier) starts getting some odd cravings after a hazing ritual has her trying meat for the first time in her life.
“You have made it to our great school. We applaud you”
Review by Eddie on 18/09/2017
Those heading into Raw expecting a typical horror experience better search elsewhere for France native Julia Ducournau’s impressive debut feature is very far from your average run of the mill journey, as we are placed alongside Garance Marillier’s 16 year old new vet school student Justine as she discovers a very different side to her vegetarian life after she’s introduced to some lovely raw rabbit kidney as part of her schools hazing ritual’s for new student’s.
Saying too much more about Ducournau’s frequently psychologically frightening and often blood filled experiences would ruin much of her subtle surprises as Raw takes us on a visually captivating, unnerving and in some instances quietly moving narrative trip.
There’s been a lot of media hype about Raw and it’s more shocking moments, of which there are many and of which many are not for the faint of heart (vegetarians would do well to avoid this film) but Raw is actually not the European gore-fest many might’ve been hoping for, as Ducournau’s film tells a very intimate story of Justine’s journey from a young girl into a women as we’ve never seen done on screen before.
Played brilliantly by the young Marillier, Justine is an all at once likeable, detestable and bizarrely captivating central figure who continues to make surprising and confronting decisions, as her new meat-filled life takes turns towards the more sinister side of the cuisine world.
It’s an extremely unique take on the growing up film genre and in particular the college life genre and while Raw lacks in scares, its bleak and unrelenting view of being a “rookie” in this vicious and even dangerous lifestyle is scary enough in itself.
Not everything in Ducournau’s film works, especially the seemingly random acceptance shown from students concerning some of Justine’s more outwardly odd behaviours and incidents, while some may be frustrated with certain character decisions but when Raw clicks into its odd and entrancing beat, this is a film you can’t take your eyes off of even when you might want to.
Final Say –
Lead by a brilliant and career making turn from its young star Marillier, Raw marks down Ducournau as a filmmaker to keep a very close eye and while horror buffs that prefer their genre more blood spattered than psychological may be left disappointed, Raw is one of the year’s most impressive genre entries. Just don’t eat a steak beforehand.
3 ½ rashes out of 5