ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Raw: The Perks of Being a Teen Cannibal

Updated on April 30, 2017

The gruesome new horror gracing our cinemas is Julia Ducournau’s film Raw. The French film depicts a young vegetarian, Justine, beginning at veterinary school. As soon as she arrives, weird rituals are performed, one involving the consumption of raw rabbit kidneys, that ultimately lead to an even weirder developing lifestyle. The animal within Justine growls, releasing a desire for flesh, sex and blood. Unlike the gore among many horror films, Raw places a romantic tone on the genre, reigniting the sacredness of blood and flesh, the primal nature of humans. As the repressed beast within gains more control, Justine becomes encapsulated by this prehistoric thirst. Garance Marillier’s (Justine) performance is haunting, leaving the audience in a state of allure but also disgust. Ducournau’s construction of this horror, it’s cinematography and enchanting music is what drives this romantic horror, leaving us in a state of enchanting Disturbia.

Gore has had the reputation as a cheap horror technique, one that allows small films to reach a large audience and make substantial profits in the business. This film does something different. It humanises and seductively alters the audience’s relationship to gore. Although our senses are undeniably assaulted, it is not due to the low-budget techniques met directors commonly used. The high-quality of this works is firstly portrayed in the realistic make-up and design work of the represented pieces of flesh. Our first intense encounter with the realistic devouring of flesh is when Justine eats her sister’s finger after it was accidentally sliced off. As the unconscious sister Alex (Ella Rumpf), eventually wakes, the audience is compelled to laugh, for who else would wake to a family member eating your severed finger, let alone any body part. Ducournau is clever in using these scenes to shock and humour her audience. It questions our world’s relationship to food and consumption. How are we so disgusted with seeing raw flesh that we can still cover our plates in masses of animal flesh, bone and blood? As many horror films do, Raw says a lot more than just cannabilism.

As an audience we almost relate to Justine, we are just as horrified as she is with her seemingly ‘unnatural’ urge to eat. Viewing the ‘monster’ in this way humanises the act, offering sympathy. We fear for the characters around her, especially her gay roommate Adrien (Rabah Nait), who she continually looks at, the same way a predator would look at its prey. Our fears are answered when she wakes to his dead body, having being ‘eaten’ in the night. It becomes clear, however, that it he was eaten by Alex, who she finds covered in blood playing video games. Her sister, throughout the film, acts as a guide in how to perform well in school, how to pee on a roof, how to be accepted by the other students, and of course — like all good sisters — how to eat human flesh. Her first lesson involves jumping out at a car and eating the victims who have died in the crash. The awfulness of the situations becomes beautiful, as we see the older animal teaching the younger one; it is merely a rite of passage. Ducournau revisits our primal teachings in familial and social situations. We are taught to eat, reproduce and fight.

As Justine’s hunger develops, she becomes hungry for sex and physical aggression. This animalistic representation of a human and her digress into almost insanity is what is so horrifying and yet entertaining to watch. She is more than the zombie or ax-murderer seen in other gory films. She is a living creature, submitting to her primal instincts. The beauty of this progression is followed by eery music. It is not about the jump-scare or the final reveal of the monster, for we are following the monster even before she is one. We follow from scene to scene, as she follows day to day. The struggle is felt in the slowness of the camera and tempo of the music. This relationship we hold with Justine is almost affectionate, as if we are watching a family member lose her social and human ways of life. This empathy and fear for Justine is the horror Ducournau focuses on, and yet only through this context does it reignite our understanding of the true horror. Once I left the theatre I was surrounded by people of the street consuming food. One girl tore at a lolly strap, a treat I remember from childhood. Yet only now, it was horrifying to watch. It reminded me of Justine nibbling at her sisters finger. A couple was playing with their food, the girl reaching playfully at her boyfriends meal. This was worse, it reminded me of the scene Justine reaches for the hand of a corpse, which is playfully pulled away by her sister. The horror of the film was found everywhere. It completely changes your perspective on people around you. We are all monsters with inner demons, with inner desires. If those desires unleash, I’m sure more things will come out than just the consumption of human flesh. We are a consuming society and Ducournau brings it to life in the most horrifyingly, effective way possible. It was one of the best gore horror films I’ve seen in a while. But I don’t think I’ll re-watch it just yet, I’m going to let my stomach settle first.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • Lee Bones Bruce profile image

      Lee Bruce 

      3 years ago from Gold Coast Queensland Australia

      Great article! Not sure if i will have the stomach to watch the film but thoroughly enjoyed reading about it.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)