Quick Hit: This French film goes through some pretty intense moments, with fairly good acting.
Kind of like Personal Shopper, Raw is one of those films that Film Twitter took a huge liking to this year. It kind of bounced along in my periphery until fellow reviewer Steve Donahue took up the call and reviewed it. Shannon and I had an extra day in between Christmas weeks and our latest and greatest end of the year post, and so we decided to plug in Raw to the schedule.
And while I’m glad that I watched it, it’s not one that I think will merit repeat watchings.
For those that don’t know, it’s a film that is about a young lady who goes off to college and discovers that she has cravings. For meat. No, get your mind out of the gutters – I mean actual, bloody meat. She’s a vegetarian by trade and now she is craving meat to the point she’s eating it raw and frozen. And sometimes, even fresher than that.
It’s a film that is a bit out there. First off, it’s French and subtitled, so I know that will turn off a lot of people. Second there is a lot of sexuality and obviously some gore involved, so that’s going to turn people off as well. Essentially, the movie itself seems to be a bit of a not so subtle metaphor to the experience of going off to college and learning about one’s sexuality. There’s also some themes about family and sisterhood in particular that exist throughout, though those are a bit more forced.
The strongest thing this film has going for it is the effects. They are really, really good, and at almost no time did I doubt what Justine (Garance Marillier) was eating. It was pretty gross, and that was alright with me. The acting is also particularly strong, with Ella Rumpf as Alexia, Justine’s sister really standing out for me. She has some of the most genuine reactions to the horror of what’s around her. That’s nothing to discount the job done by Marillier, who perfectly maintains the aura of confusion coupled with desire that is necessary to maintain a film like this.
What I didn’t like was the way the film tries to encapsulate so much of what’s going on around Justine. She’s going to school to be a veterinarian, and the film takes a lot of time to establish that fact. Each time the film returns to the university rather than just focusing on the relationships that Justine is forming (or attempting to), the film starts to slog down a bit. There’s also a few side characters that aren’t very well developed, and their inclusion within the film doesn’t make much sense to me.
The final twist, while entertaining, didn’t do a whole lot for me. I felt like it was a bit of a cop out from some of the horror aspects of the film. But, that may just be the horror purist in me, whereas I think this was more of a drama with horror elements.
For other suggestions about cannibalism, I would suggest Ravenous and The Hills Have Eyes. This movie gets a “B-“.
For more on this film, check out IMDB.
"All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy"