About – A young vegetarian woman goes to a veterinary school, where she undergoes a hazy ritual which leaves a raw taste in her mouth.
Raw, a feature debut from director and writer Julia Ducournau, which is a French and Belgium co-production. Julia has a sense of realistic horror, that captivates the realism of such horrific moments and Raw is an exact feature of that. Within Raw we are faced with student raves, lectures, new friendships and changes. These realistic elements are exactly what makes Julia such a fantastic storyteller, even within this gory horror.
Obviously, Raw isn’t for everyone and you can tell this by the marketing before the film. However, for those of you who are intrigued or have the love for gory horrors then this is a coming of age film, for you.
We are introduced to Justine (Garance Marillier) a vegetarian, in a café with her mother and father on their way to the veterinary school. Justine has a plate of mash potato and within her mouthful there is a sausage ball, she spits it out. Instantly her mother is frantic and kicking up a fuss.
Already by this opening scene it lets us in, into what her family and her surroundings are like constantly.
By the time she gets to the school the ritual has started. Justine’s sister, Alexia (Ella Rumpf) is also at the school. Justine has to do traditional rituals to fit into the school with her eagle-eyed sister watching over her. Afterwards, strange things start to happen to Justine with marks appearing on her body and a raw taste starts to appear in her appetite.
The narrative is one of the weirdest but the most fun, fantastically thought out storyline, with such an interesting topic. There is a lot of sub-topics within Raw; fitting into a new school, doing things you don’t usually want to do, having boys/girl’s attention, changes to your body. All these topics are things that happen when you move away and they’re topics that are explored brilliantly within this gory horror.
The impact of the film, wouldn’t have had the same impression if the actors were well-known. By having actors that were unknown its easier for us to relate to each character and their behaviour. The acting is rather amateurish, it’s exactly what this film needs to give it that realistic element. We want to feel captivated by the characters and their surroundings. Garance and Ella were outstanding in their own way, playing two totally different characters but subconsciously playing the same person.
The use of the colour red in this pale skinned film was used brilliantly, it stood out more than it would normally due to the paleness of the film. Most horrors use the colour red because it resembles death, blood and general horror. However, within Raw it has a more special meaning, such as; raw meat, blood, life, love and death. By just the colour and the characters location, we are instantly thinking what the blood and what the colour red resembles. In this instance, it’s everything to do with vegetarianism and being a veterinary surgeon.
Raw is a splendid piece of film that captivates the realism within university and leaving home. It has a dark twisted narrative that keeps us engaged with each character. By having characters that were open and pure, it made us have sympathy for them. Best of all they were well acted in their own real way.