I was really excited to see this movie and unfortunately missed it in theaters so when I learned it released on VOD finally, I knew I had to see it. Before I say anything, let me warn you to not be like me and to not watch this prior to your dinner or any meal for that matter. I’m gonna be honest, eating a piece of chicken after watching this was one of the hardest things ever. That’s the kind of effect this film had on me, well one of two effects. The other effect being pure awe. This movie was truly something special. Raw is one of the most unique and terrifying movies I’ve seen all year.
Justine (Garance Mariller), the “protagionist” of the film, is a new student at Veterinarian School. She is a vegetarian that is forced to go against her values when she arrives at this school due to it being rush week. When she finally tastes meat, she begins to have a virtually unsatisfiable hunger and when she realizes what she truly craves, she learns things about herself and those around her that prove to be extremely terrifying.
This film takes the coming of age story, which is my favorite genre, and turns it on it’s head by combining it with body and psychological horror. The way the film uses nasty and grisly imagery along with the more sinister themes as metaphors for this young woman’s journey of coming about in this new academic and social environment is something of pure genius. While, I’m sure a few of these went right over my head like every first initial viewing of a film, the ones I caught were so brilliant and smart that they enhanced the already fantastic effect the film was already having on me.
Garance Mariller as Justine is a revelation. She goes from shy and contained to animalistic so quickly, there were times where I thought she was two entirely different people. Watching her go through this journey of finding out things about herself was so investing due to her wonderful and ship steering performance. All of the other cast was great, especially Ella Rumpf as Alexia, Justine’s sister but this is Mariller’s movie and she runs away she can with it.
The cinematography is absolutely stunning in this film. Easily one of the best films of the year in terms of cinematography. The way the film uses long shots is so eerie, I was always afraid something was going to go wrong and it builds so much tension. There’s a fantastic tracking shot at a party that is easily one of my favorite scenes of the year. I can’t speak enough about how fantastic this film looks.
Julia Ducournau wrote and directed this film with such a confidence and ease that I couldn’t believe this was her debut. This woman is immensely talented and needs to be getting more work. She makes even the most gruesome of imagery still have an immense beauty about it. This woman gave me both my favorite ending and my tie for best opening scene of the year (the other being Get Out’s opening scene, another brilliant horror film acting as a director’s debut).
Raw is one of the best films I’ve seen this year. It’s brutal, gross, stomach turning, beautiful and downright terrifying. There’s always a feeling I get when I see a fantastic movie and this movie gave me that feeling halfway through. When the second half wrapped up, I sat there and just said, “Wow,”. Wow doesn’t even explain how I felt. Go rent this movie, it’s on VOD now. Even if you get queasy, that’s not a good enough excuse to miss on of the best films of the year.