Do not see this film if you are squeamish.
There you go: review finished. Done, dusted, on to my next one!
I joke. I genuinely can’t think of a better film to get my reviews rolling again. After a break due to uni commitments, I’m back with the review of Raw. And my goodness, what a film to start with.
Firstly, do not be discouraged due to subtitles. I know of many individuals who refuse to watch foreign films simply because of this. And to this I say – stop! Some of the best films I have seen are in a different language. When you’re immersed in a story, you shouldn’t care what language a film was filmed in. So stop boycotting foreign films and witness the magic!
However, Raw is probably not the best start. Like I stated before, do not watch this film if you are squeamish. I have never sat in a room full of so many squirming people before. It is not an easy watch.
For those who are not aware of the Cannes Film Festival winner, Raw tells the story of Justine (Garance Marillier) who is in the process of beginning university. She hopes to become a vet and joins the veterinary university her parents and sister both attended. She is naturally a vegetarian and has strong beliefs that animals are equally important as humans.
What could go wrong you ask?
After a wonderfully gruesome initiation, Justine begins to crave meat. Kebab meat? Check. Raw meat from her freezer? Check. And it doesn’t stop there…
Truth be told, I can’t tell if I liked Raw. I’m incredibly proud of myself for making it through the film without vomiting or passing out, but I’m not sure if I can say I “enjoyed” it. To be honest, I wasn’t going to see Raw until I met a friend on the train who had witnessed the gore for themselves. They spoke with such awe in their voice that I knew I had to see it for myself. She told me, “it’s one of those films that stays with you after you’ve seen it.” And I have to completely agree. There hasn’t been a night since watching Raw that I haven’t laid awake in bed, thinking, pondering, and blinking away gruesome flashbacks.
Writer and director Julia Ducournau did a fantastic job creating a realistic horror story. As usual in many horrors, the main character is annoying and different. I found myself sighing at Justine (but not at Marillier’s acting – she was phenomenal). Yet Justine’s struggle was far more engaging than the usual horror cliques which makes Raw a breath of fresh air. The carnivorous nature of the film could have followed the example of zombie horrors. It could have went overboard with gore. But Ducournau managed to portray a simply haunting film without using any gimmicks. Justine wasn’t over dramatised or simplified, her character remained complex and fascinating. It truly is nothing like anything I’ve seen before.
Furthermore, the score was perfect for the film. Just a few seconds in and I was already on edge. It instantly set up the atmosphere and made me regret attending the film. Moreover, the short film that made an appearance before the main event was an unbelievably unnerving piece of art. I can’t imagine a better film to set up the audience for what they are about to see.
Overall, I can’t say too much about Raw because, honestly, I don’t know how I feel. I’m in awe with the art of story telling, the cinematic beauty, and acting, but when it comes down to the big question: “Would you watch it again” I’d have to say: no.
A girl can only squirm so much.