by Phillip Wilcox "Our Movie Demon"
Body horror cinema has been infecting the film community like a virus that has been slowly but steadily climbing. And more so, the films that have been released have been crafted with such posh sophistication and intelligence that more and more people have been turned on and tuning in to these films! Case and point: RAW. One of the most staggeringly beautiful, hypnotic, mesmerizing, and erotically laced body horror pictures that have come out as of recently from fairly new comer writer and director Julia Ducournau. I won't lie and say that when I watched this film, I could tell it has the touch of a woman. It's not rough around the edges, anything included in the story is there for a reason and isn't there for the sake of disturbing you or showing you something erotic - And that's exactly what a film of this kind needed! It explores, it doesn't just show and shock. It delves into the life and psychology of a young girl who is coming of age. Allow me to just quickly spitball what the plot is so you get a jist of what I'm talking about here. We pull focus on a young girl, looking as though she has just exited High School and is entering life at a Vet School to become a medical student of some sort. It is clear she will be dealing with living pieces of meat, however, one thing about her, other than her mousy, innocent, and even naive demeanor is that she is a vegetarian. And it doesn't seem to be a personal choice, but more of the fact that she has a physical reaction to it! Her first day as a student at this school and she, along with other first timers, are hazed, then invited to parties. Then hazed some more. It's hard to grapple as to whether these freshmen students are welcomed or ridiculed. That aside, within those first few days and even within the first week, our protagonist Justine begins to develop friendships, reconnect with her older sister Alexia, who is also a student at that school, and also begin to discover her own sexuality as she comes into her own. It isn't just us who discover changes about Justine, it is Justine herself that begins to discover new and terrifying territory about her own person, her sister, her likes, dislikes, urges, and even appetites! Things are changing rapidly with her, and she is horrified by these changes. As many young adults tend to be while transitioning into adulthood. Garance Marillier is a revelation in the part of Justine! She bares the acting chops of a seasoned actor and carries the film with such grace! Julia Ducournau is a filmmaker of great stature and a strong vision that travels through time, space and the subconscious! Her direction and craftsmanship is one to keep an eye out for and keep tabs on. RAW is a coming of age tale told through the eyes of a well crafted horror film that will satisfy your hunger!