Tuck into the delicious, French-Belgian cult tale of a young, vegetarian women Justine (Garance Marillier) as she develops a taste for the popular life at her first week at veterinary school. On her first night, she and her neighbour Adrien (Nait Oufella) are thrown into the traditional fraternity stages from previous veteran students one being her free-spirited sister Alexia (Ella Rumpf). The sisters have come from a repressed household and it soon becomes apparent to Justine hat Vet School will become the rabbit-hole of her coming of age story.
It’s a shame what has been highlighted during the film’s release was the article in which people were flocking the cinemas in disgust, some throwing up and couldn’t stomach the details. I always say if a movie has the power to do that, sign me up. And for the record, I watched it, didn’t throw up but felt extremely claustrophobic and uncomfortable.
My concerns with the modern horror film genre are it just feels like it hasn’t had a thorough prep. Usually, I have to hide my face in my hands in disappointment and to protect myself from the unnecessarily overused ‘BONG’s and BANG’s’. Giving a more David Cronenberg genre of film, giving the emotion, detachment and fabulously fleshy production.
This is essentially the good girl gone bad scenario, we follow Justine’s inner thought process. There are moments when she floats through the party scenes, untouched and unfazed by fellow students making it apparent that she is merely a spectator in their ravenous sex and drug culture. We are reminded about how her grades are exceptional but perhaps too exceptional according to the teachers, like a message that if she wants to fit in she’ll have to ‘dumb-down’ too. We’ve all been in the situation where we’d dumb ourselves down or laugh at inappropriate moments to try and seem ‘normal’ to our peer group.
The Exorcist, Carrie, Clockwork Orange – of course, the list goes on, I feel these movies give a delicate sprinkle over this well-seasoned masterpiece, Raw feels like it’s earned it’s placed in the gore genre and being a gore fanatic. We are treated to a meaty stack of beautiful cinematography, There’s a particular toilet scene where Justine is given some hearty advice from a fellow student which gave me a shudder of giggles. I know this is cliched, but I felt a presence of Alice in Wonderland, Justine is given treats from strangers which she questions but takes anyway. As she does she grows but not into her own, there’s a sense of claustrophobia after she lets her hair down and tries to enjoy herself.
What starts off as an innocent story of Justine (Garance Marillier) starting college, she catches up with her older sister Alexia (Ella Rumpf) who takes her sweaty palm through the party lifestyle hosted by the elder and only fraternity. Longing to be average, Justine being very refined, eats raw rabbit liver for the first time encouraged by her sister, becomes seduced by the ‘rules’ we join her exploring her adolescence.
There are shots that are drawn out but all for good measure and as much as you want them to stop it doesn’t! By blending in these chunks of sweeping shots or long stills, I’m reminded of Clockwork Orange especially with scenes in the college club that I can only raise my glass of milk to.
I don’t think this should be a film to be missed because of the ‘out-rage’ and doesn’t leave anything half-baked. It really does connect with those who’ve felt we’ve done whatever we can to fit in, there are some disturbing revelations and when everything becomes a full circle it’s all the more harrowing.
A thought-provoking, feast of a film, definitely one for a movie night!
Horror fanatics will certainly feel pleased when they get to the gore-fuelled moments. The impeccable attention to detail, character development and stunning cinematography, Raw certainly earns its spot on your best horror film shelf.
Thank you also for not giving us a predictable thrill!