Cannibal Cinema 101: Can you handle watching ‘Raw’?
Any horror film that sends theater audiences into fainting and vomiting fits is bound to generate buzz. In the cannibal flick Raw, first-time feature filmmaker Julia Ducournau perfected the unflinching formula necessary to cause ambulances to wait outside the cineplex.
A movie that’s described as a coming-of-age horror/comedy sounds like it’s trying to be multiple things at once. Raw manages to do all of this and pulls it off in a way that keeps the audience unsettled and frightened throughout the duration of the film.
The story starts off with Justine (Garance Marillier), a young woman who is starting her first year of veterinary school. (To throw an ironic twist into a film about cannibalism, Justine and her entire family are vegetarians.) She’s joining her older sister, Alexia (Ella Rumpf) in the same program that their parents (Laurent Lucas and Joana Priess) also completed.
Oh, but how times have changed since their parents were in college! Justine finds herself in the middle of horrifying hazing rituals – unrelenting emotional and physical torment – that she accepts in an attempt to fit in among her new “friends.”
As part of Justine’s veterinary school initiation, she’s forced to forgo her strict vegetarian lifestyle and eat a rabbit kidney. Far from permanently repulsing her, this innocent taste of bunny meat gives her a taste for all kinds of flesh – including the human variety.
This darkly erotic and disturbing film has drawn comparisons to Jorge Michel Grau’s human flesh-eating saga We are What We Are. While the premise may sound unbelievable, the on-screen horror is gruesome and realistic enough that ambulances were literally summoned to a screening in Toronto.
The question is: do you dare see it?