Saturday, 29 April 2017

I've Just Seen: Raw (Grave) (2016)

Director: Julia Ducournau

I was surprised to find my local cinema playing Raw; as I've said before, rarely do foreign language films get played where I live, and arthouse horror films are also thin on the ground. With the positive reviews for the film, naturally I had to go see it, but it wasn't without some trepidation. While my horror film education has meant I now really enjoy the genre, and especially body horror, cannibalism leaves me feeling queasy.

There were one or two scenes that did make me feel a touch light-headed, but it was mostly from seeing dripping blood (which also sets me off in reality as well). Ducournau doesn't go for all out gore where human bodies are simply viewed as food. Instead Justine's appetite for human flesh is bound up in her coming-of-age and even her sexuality.

At the start of the film Justine is virginal and vegetarian, and Ducournau links these two ideas together. Justine's cravings for meat are matched by her interest in her gay roommate Adrien. Complicating things further is Justine's relationship with her older sister Alexia, who is also studying to be a vet like Justine. Alexia is Justine's only real friend apart from Adrien, but it is very uneasy, as Alexia is more outgoing, and she occasionally pushes Justine too far. She also has a secret like Justine.

Raw is clever and oddly funny, as well as unsettling and even shocking. I wasn't sure what I thought about it straight after seeing it, but the film has certainly grown on me. If you like your horror, definitely see this. If you don't like horror, do not see it; it is rather intense.

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