By: Henry J. Fromage (Three Beers) –
I’ve been salivating at the prospect of seeing Julie Ducournau’s Raw ever since the obligatory tales of walk-outs, fainting, and vomit coming out of its debut screening at Cannes in 2016.
Oh, those tender-constitutioned critics…
Raw follows virgin & vegetarian Justine (Garance Marillier) as she begins her freshman year at veterinary school alongside her older sister Alexia (Ella Rumpf) and her journey to becoming very much the opposite of both. It all gets… gory.
Ducournau really has accomplished something unique here – a blend of horror and social commentary and terribly wry comedy that should never mix in those proportions, but does. In many ways, its closest kindred spirit is Wetlands, also a female gross-out comedy all about busting taboos but with an ambivalence towards the moral desirability of that… just with a tad more gore.
And what glorious, practical effect-driven gore it is. I defy you to eat popcorn during this, much less anything else.
Marillier in particular is great as innocence corrupted, and holds the center of a film whose tagline could be “Just How Bad Is This Going To Get?” Ducournau definitely brings strong stylistic chops, particularly the strong verite camerawork and well-deployed gothic synth score by Jim Williams, but what really stands out about her and this film is their absolutely unique and bugfucking insane sense of dramatic escalation. You will not know where this is going even if you think you do, and nothing about that is anything but catnip to film fans like me.
This is a hard, hard watch. Itchy rashes, weird animal fetuses, peeling skin, so much blood… and that’s the shit I feel like telling you about. It gross.
If you think too hard about what this plot could possibly stand as a metaphor for, well, it’s nuts. Raw is clearly far more interested in laying waste to taboos than assembling a coherent position and, honestly, all power to it.
Raw is a funny, beyond fucked up, and thrillingly feminine-focused horror film destined to provoke for years to come.
Raw (2017) Drinking Game
Take a Drink: for grotesqueries
Take a Drink: for anti-vegetarian aggression
Take a Drink: for drug metaphors
Take a Drink: for initiations
Take a Drink: for sinful pleasures
Do a Shot: when you fucking need it