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May 8, 2017 | by  | in Film | [ssba]

Raw (2017)

After reports of people passing out at the Toronto Film Festival, it was pretty hard to resist seeking this film out when it was finally rated and released in New Zealand. As it turns out, it may have been a case of much ado about nothing, because Raw’s violence isn’t exacting anything jaw dropping; at the end of the day, this film isn’t really a pure horror film. Set in a veterinary school in France, a young Justine (Garance Marillier) must make it through the rigorous hazing of her first week while struggling with a variety of adolescent urges that have swollen to the surface. If you thought Ginger Snaps was a fairly direct metaphor where a movie about werewolves is paralleled with two girls going through puberty, get ready for something on another level.

As Justine is gradually broken into the world of drinking and partying, something else wakes up inside her, and a graphic representation of youth sexuality ensues.  Here the horror is primarily found in the pleasure and repulsion she finds in both herself and (as you probably guessed from the poster) in eating human flesh. It truly is a coming-of-age film like no other. Julia Ducournau lends a fascinating eye to the subject matter, as the line between reality and illusion often get blurred, and colouring of the film is constantly inventive with neon lights, paint, and of course blood.

Overall the film does somewhat give to its own urges towards the end, with a variety of things merely happening, and though the narrative does not always come across in a succinct matter, the material is thought provoking enough in itself to provide a host of gruesome entertainment. Honestly I can’t think of another film since The Texas Chainsaw Massacre that has added to a self-defined genre of mine entitled vegetarian-horror. In 1973 a group of teens were brutally slaughtered and butchered like animals, and here again the ethics of meat are brought to the forefront. Regardless of dietary persuasion, I recommend this to anyone craving the strange.


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