Director: Julia Ducournau
Some films are so “out there,” so bizarre, that they garner quite a bit of buzz. Often times this buzz is well earned, the film is good, perhaps because the plot is original or maybe the gimmick was clever. While strolling through my Netflix, I stumbled across such a film, Raw, a movie famous for its gross out factor.
College freshman Justine (Garance Marillier) is in school to become a veterinarian, likely because she has a love for animals, a love so strong she herself is a vegetarian, try not to get the two words confused, I know they are spelled similarly. While in school, she must go through hell week, a week of hazing for the new students or “rookies.” I don’t know about you, but I have never seen a hell week for the entire student body. One of the hazing requirements was for Justine to consume a small piece of raw rabbit kidney, after she eats this hearty meal, she herself becomes consumed, not by an animal or person, but by a voracious desire to consume flesh.
The movie definitely has the gross out factor turned up to 11 with a lot of gory scenes involving copious amounts of flesh and blood. Justine slowly spirals out of control and is unable to satisfy her hunger, going so far as to break out into rashes if she goes too long without meat. I am someone who has stated repeatedly in these posts that I like simple plots and complex characters. The plot is simple enough, Justine doesn’t like meat, then Justine does like meat, the complexity of the character however is weak. We are never given a clear reason for her hunger, no explanation as to why she grows into this person as the film progresses, although we are given an answer of sorts at the very end, it isn’t a good one. Honestly, I found myself struggling to stay interested in the story as Justine was not doing anything aside from wanting to eat, then subsequently eating, you know, like a zombie, a comparison that was glaringly obvious from the instant you see the trailer.
This is a gory horror film that is meant to shock you, something it manages to do quite well, because the film manages to deliver on its promises, I really cannot call it a failure. I am pretty sure there is a compliment hidden somewhere in that last sentence but I can’t find it. Fans of the genre will want to see it, it is October after all, however, to those who may have heard of the movie and were expecting something spectacular, it has a 90% on Rotten Tomatoes, you may be a bit disappointed.