Thursday, 11 October 2018

Raw (2016)

I've read tons of reviews of Raw (French: Grave) and there was something that has kept popping out, the fact that the film was horrific, that people left cinemas in the middle of the film because of how intense it was. Apparently, people even fainted while watching this. Which also happened with the first Paranormal Activity movie and since that one had no effect whatsoever on me, I decided to check this out. 

The film follows Justine (Garance Marillier), a first-year veterinary student who was raised a strict vegetarian. The school has pretty messed up traditions and initiation tests, and Justine is forced to eat a raw rabbit kidney by the senior students, which includes her older sister, Alexia (Ella Rumpf). That night, Justine develops horrible, itchy rashes all over her body and, shortly after, she starts craving meat, particularly human flesh. 

Although it's certainly not entirely original, the premise is very interesting; unfortunately, in my opinion, director and writer Julia Ducournau was not able to turn it into an interesting movie. The plot is very thin, a combination of pointless and bland gore and sex; it somehow managed to keep me interested throughout only to disappoint me with the haunting-ish and kinda predictable ending as it felt like Ducournau didn't know how to end the film. 

The characters were another problem for me as they lack development and characterization. Despite the fact that she goes through a journey of self-discovery and sexual awakening, we don't know anything about Justine other than she is a vegetarian which I guess is why I didn't care one bit about her. The sister is just an apathetic bitch. The gay roommate suddenly converts and has sex with Justine which is why I didn't care if he would end up dead.

Despite the writing, the actors do a pretty good job. Garance Marillier is excellent as Justine and makes the character's transformation --from mild-mannered, rigorous vegetarian to lustful cannibal-- believable. Ella Rumpf is just as impressive as the sister.

Wild Bunch, Focus World
As for the horror, Raw fails on that front as well. When the cannibal aspect kicks in, one would expect the gore to escalate. Well, it doesn't. There indeed isn't as much gore as one would expect. What's worse though is that it barely effective. The blood though, at least most of it, looks pretty realistic, and the puking hair sequence is disgusting to the point that I looked away for a moment.

On the other hand, Raw has excellent cinematography, interesting camera work and smooth editing --there's one scene where Justine eats a raw chicken breast that is just beautiful. Although I didn't find it disgusting at all, probably because I knew Marillier wasn't eating a real chicken breast since chicken can't be eaten raw nor pink, it really gives the feeling of someone who's been craving something for a very long time and can finally satisfy that craving.

Ultimately, Raw wasn't as bloody, violent and disgusting as I was expecting, nor the clever fish-out-of-water character study and coming-of-age it tries to be, but there's still something about it that kept me glued to the screen wanting for more. 

6 comments :

  1. Bleccch....I think I'll pass on this one

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  2. I like this one a bit better since I thought it did manage to become an interesting movie and I liked the ending. I had no idea of its rep for making people throw up and leave screenings until after I watched it. I agree it certainly shouldn't have caused all that. Then again, maybe we're just more jaded than most folks.

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    1. Thank god I'm not the only one. For a moment I thought I was a psychopath.

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  3. I LOVE THIS FILM! Oh man, it was insane and I wish it was longer. I enjoyed the hell out of it.

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    1. It needed to be more shocking in my opinion.

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