Wednesday, 19 April 2017


When Raw premiered at the London Film Festival there were reports of people fainting in the aisles and vomiting in the toilets. Whether this is true or not, the media attention the film received was positive from there on…who wouldn’t want to see the film that made people faint and throw up? In actual fact this sort of attention does the film a disservice because it’s so much more than simply being a French Cannibal Horror film with vomit inducing gore.

That’s not to say the film isn’t gore free, the injury deal is there and gore on display is on a par with Cronenberg and his spectacular effects. However, debutant Julia Ducournau’s film works as a coming of age, sexual awakening story about the difficulties of fitting in. At the centre of the story is virginal Justine (Garance Marillier), trying to navigate the wild, drunken parties of University life whilst being totally unprepared for such an extreme, drunken lifestyle high in debauchery. When she eats raw rabbit liver as part of a brutal initiation she craves meat, human flesh and lusts after sex.

One of the main filmmakers that Julia Ducournau has acknowledged as a main influence on her work is David Cronenberg, the king of body horror. Raw is not a traditional horror film, but has its roots strongly planted in body horror with Cronenberg’s Shivers, a film which the infected victim is subject to extreme sexual desire, is a main influence. The repulsive rashes on the Justine’s stomach, extreme injury detail, and fear of what is happening inside your body is very much part and parcel of the body horror genre, but Julia Ducournau uses the themes of the story (coming of age, social acceptance, sexual awakening) to tell the story uniquely.

Unknown actress Garance Marillier does a superb job in the lead role making Justine a very empathetic person. Almost isolated and, at first, totally out of her comfort zone (as shown by the incredible one shot takes of Justine making her way through the rowdy parties) but once she consumes meat, her animalistic (the way she craves her gay roommate can be seen as animalistic) and carnivorous desires overwhelm her.  

Raw is superb, noteworthy debut.


1 comment:

  1. I've wanted to see this since it debuted at Sundance over here. I think it hits DVD in May. I'm so excited.