Raw (2016)

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RATING: 3.5/5

SPOILERS

Directed by French director Julia Ducournau, the film is about a young girl named Justine going to college for the first time. It’s only when a ritual welcoming the new students happens that her vegetarian lifestyle becomes meatier.

This movie surprised me in terms of not being all around bloody. I thought it was going to be gore fest, bloodbath, or torture-porn type of movie. This was a similar situation that I faced with the first Human Centipede movie. There are some bloody or gory scenes in here, but for the most part, I feel this movie lends itself into drama or coming of age territory. To which I believe, in terms of the context of this crazy story, worked well.

Justine is a girl who has been a vegetarian for all of her life. The college setting was the key to unlocking her potential. In this case, having a gene that turns one into a cannibal. Justine’s sister, Alexis, felt it was a rite of passage for Justine to experience eating meat. Not only being part of the school but also for enjoying meat for the first time in her life. Just like Alexis did with she was a college freshman. This aspect of the movie I really liked and it makes the story more intriguing.

The college setting by the way I liked. The film showcases many locations within the campus and it makes it a living breathing world. This is aided by some really good dialogue amongst the students. But not with just the students, the film as a whole has a good screenplay.

The pacing of this movie I believed was good. It delivers enough time and patience to get to know the character of Justine, the college life of a freshman, and progression to being a cannibal. The progression plays off pretty natural like, it’s not sudden and instant.

The cinematography was really nice, as there were scenes where it showcased nice wide-shots of either the countryside or outside the campus. There isn’t any shaky cam when shit hits the fan. The camera is focused on the subject or thing in front.

There are gory scenes which were spread nicely. What I mean by that is that there were no cannibal scenes every five minutes. There are spread out which makes the situation even more terrifying because you don’t know exactly when Justine is going to snap and start eating again. There is some sense of dread when watching Justine’s blank face. You don’t have a clue what’s going on in her head.

Justine was interesting in the movie as she is in constant conflict of balancing her first days as a freshman and dealing with being a cannibal. She wants to keep a good image much like her sister did prior, but the urge to eat grows strong inside. Making things extremely difficult for her to handle.

The film definitely has substance in it to keep one entertained, but there are times where it feels the director put more emphasis on style than anything else. There are scenes where it didn’t feel necessary to include or were just too weird to question. Like one where a restrained horse is running on a treadmill or a cloth covering a dead dog that’s removed by some unknown force. Scenes like this make you question what is going on.

There are other scenes where they do showcase Justine’s classroom life, but in essence, it’s kind of pointless. There weren’t any consequences or end results of those scenes whatsoever.

Justine’ sister, Alexis, is also a cannibal. I wish the movie would have explored some of the history of how she became one. Now while some of the characters aren’t bad, they make you question some things. Justine’s roommate, for example, doesn’t want to do the right thing and doesn’t report that Justine is a human zombie by any means. How is the campus able to not do searches or checks on Alexis before especially with her bloody habits.

There is a scene where leaked footage of a drunk Justine is teased with a dead corpse and it is sent out to the whole school. How in the world was Alexis able to get by those issues.

While this movie is stylistic at points, this film definitely adds a new dimension to the cannibal horror genre. As mentioned, I didn’t expect the plot to go into the direction I thought, but it was still enjoyable from beginning to end. I recommend this one for sure, unless you are squeamish of zombie-like behavior.