Movie Review: Raw
The French-Belgian 2016 horror-drama film Raw (Grave in French) was directed and written by Julia Ducournau. The film stars Garance Marillier as Justine, a vegetarian who is highly against the eating of any meat products. Later, she arrives at veterinary school and unwillingly participates in an hazing ritual where everyone is forced to eat raw meat. What proceeds is an unsavory appetite for all things raw including meat and human flesh.
Raw's horrific tale includes the unapologetic take on the consumption of raw animal and human meat. The film's strongpoint is its great use of practical effects and makeup to simulate the look of raw flesh. It's best (and most disgusting) moments are when the protagonist is fully enthralled in her cravings and eats the flesh of dead animals and people around her to satisfy her cravings. The effects of her diet is shown not only on her body, but represented in her attitude to the people around her. Her sweet and moral behavior becomes deplorable as she sinks further into depravity. The narrative of a vegetarian girl turned meat eater and then cannibal is well done through shocking and revolting scenes done not just for shock value, but to further tell her story.
The horror of the movie stems not only from her diet, but also how deeply Justine's craving affect her personal life. There is a transformation that takes place within the movie. Her behavior becomes hypersexual and her lust for food becomes indistinguishable from human flesh. Hard to watch, is the toll this new diet undeniably takes on her body with the loss of teeth, bloody rashes, nosebleeds and constant food poisoning. Anyone she encounters is unknowingly in danger which adds tension to an already horrific narrative.
In what can be described as a modern-day vampire story, Raw paints the picture of innocence tainted. Or, possibly the film is not only about the loss of innocence but the exploration of our deepest desires. You never know what you might like until you've tried it and the movie takes that message to a whole other level. If you're a fan of horror and graphic scenes containing bodily harm or just unsavory images in general don't make you the bit queasy, then Raw is the film for you.
Raw is currently available on streaming platforms only.