Raw (2017) - Rotten Tomatoes

Raw (2017)

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AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: Raw's lurid violence and sexuality live up to its title, but they're anchored with an immersive atmosphere and deep symbolism that linger long after the provocative visuals fade.

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Everyone in Justine's family is a vet. And a vegetarian. At sixteen she's a brilliant student starting out at veterinary school where she experiences a decadent, merciless and dangerously seductive world. Desperate to fit in, she strays from her family principles and eats RAW meat for the first time. Justine will soon face the terrible and unexpected consequences as her true self begins to emerge...

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Cast

Ella Rumpf
as Alexia
Laurent Lucas
as Le père
Joana Preiss
as La mère
Thomas Mustin
as Head of Student Office
R. Thomas Mustin
as Head of Student Office
Marouan Iddoub
as Canteen Newbie
Jean-Louis Sbille
as Assessment Teacher
Benjamin Boutboul
as Hooded Veteran
Virgil Leclaire
as Corridor/Football/End Newbie - Coryphee
Anna Solomin
as Corridor Veteran
Sophie Breyer
as Canteen Newbie
Danel Utegenova
as Toilets Newbie
Bérangère McNeese
as Painting Newbie
Morgan Politi
as Barman Party CHU
Alice D'Hauwe
as Student Party CHU
Pierre Nisse
as Student Video Party CHU Morgue
Maite Katinka Lonne
as Newbie Auditorium
Amandine Hinnekens
as Veteran Water Gun
Sibylle du Plessy
as Autopsy Teacher
Denis M'Punga
as Auditorium Teacher
Alexis Julemont
as Emergency Resident
Lich Jass
as Cantee Woman Rest Area
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Critic Reviews for Raw

All Critics (147) | Top Critics (31)

Ably assisted by Marillier - and Ella Rumpf as Justine's controlling sis - Ducournau captures the more quotidian dread of fitting into cliques, losing your virginity and living up to family expectations.

April 27, 2017 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Ducournau, 33, is a promising, smart filmmaker with a lot to say, and "Raw" is quite a medium to present her ideas.

March 31, 2017 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…

A coming-of-age tale like you've never seen, Julia Ducournau's "Raw" left me intrigued, mildly nauseated and extremely curious about what passes for recreation at French veterinary schools.

March 29, 2017 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

If you can see past the rain of blood, Raw is a gorgeously moving film about fear and adolescence -- albeit one best viewed on an empty stomach.

March 23, 2017 | Full Review…

This gruesome French horror flick (2016) functions more as a mystery than as an action film, with an endless drip drip drip of revelation that gradually exposes a terrifying world behind the everyday.

March 23, 2017 | Full Review…

This smart, funny and extremely dark shocker gives writer/director Julia Ducournau a debut showcasing her prodigious creative instincts and perverse sense of humor.

March 23, 2017 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Raw

½

Sex, drugs and rock & roll. What more could you possibly ask for in your "Fucked-Up-Coming-Of-Age" movies... Cannibalism? No dramas. Raw has got you sorted.

Gimly M.
Gimly M.

Super Reviewer

½

Justine (Garance Marilliier, looking like a Gallic Rooney Mara) comes from a family of vegetarians and veterinarians. She's entering a famed veterinary college as a legacy and her big sister, Alexia (Ella Rumpf), is already established among the school hierarchy. The incoming students are mercilessly hazed and Justine is forced to eat meat against her will. This moment unlocks a secret craving within her that consumes her. She starts looking at her fellow students less as dinner dates and more as dinner. For the first half of Raw I thought I was watching a French nouveau version of Carrie. The first half of the movie is dominated by the pressures, and in particular, the cruel hazing from the upperclassmen at the college. The hazing is extreme, rampant, and omnipresent, with every older classmate throwing around his or her sense of privilege and bullying the freshmen candidates. It's the kind of harassment and abuse we've seen in other stories relating to fraternities and sororities where institutions of power abuse others because they were abused and so on and so on, normalizing the cruelty. However, those are organizations that are elective and enclaves among a larger campus. With Raw, it appears that every upperclassman is part of this system of hazing, meaning there is no escape if the young candidates want to continue their education. The professors seem complicit in their negligence, and Justine even has one professor who hilariously criticizes her for doing too well in class. He says her good scores are depressing the other students, possibly making them become worse doctors. The overall impression of this scholarly environment is one of sickness and exploitation. There's even a culminating "class picture" where they are bathed in buckets of (pig?) blood. With this sort of build-up, I was anticipating that when Justine got her crazy cravings that the movie was going to set up some tasty just desserts for these sadistic upperclassmen. I was looking forward to these mean people getting killed and eaten to service Justine. Perhaps that's the American version of what this movie would become, or my own preferred version with the established first half, but that's not the movie Raw ends up becoming. Stuck somewhere between body horror and weird compulsion, Raw falters trying to stake its own territory. It's definitely structured like a coming-of-age/sexual awakening story except said awakening is connected with cannibalism. That's an excellent starting point for some cringe horror but Raw gets too lost in its dreamlike atmospherics. We explore rave-like revelries, hedonistic escapades, and the allure of the unknown. The best part of the film is the deterioration of Justine's inhibitions as she gives in to her inner carnivore. There's an obvious carnality metaphor here (college is a time for experimentation) and there's a clear entertainment factor in watching a meek character assert herself. Her character gets lost in the oblique mystery that leaves a lot of unanswered questions and unclear motivations. One minute our heroine is rejecting the pressure of her peers and the next she's nibbling on a severed finger. Her downward spiral doesn't feel adequately developed as she's immediately caught in the swirl of campus hazing. The progression feels phony. Outrageous things happen without a tonal grounding, and so it feels more like David Lynch dream logic. I could better accept this drifting quality if the movie had more plot to offer. At the halfway mark, once big sis makes her major personal reveal, the movie generally stalls. The plot doesn't advance, the characters don't really deepen, and we're getting variations on the same things from before. The body horror elements don't fully feel integrated as well. Justine has breakouts of hives and rashes, presumably from eating meat, though this comes and goes. She doesn't ever seem too fraught over what she may be becoming, but maybe that's just being French. Writer/director Julia Ducournau certainly has talent and a natural way of handling her actors, but her film debut is just trying too hard. The constant crimson color scheme is heavy-handed to convey the protagonist's frayed state of mind. The symbolism is also just as obvious. The suppression of darker, more animalistic desires is an intriguing tableau, except several of the jumps in character development, or debasement, happen while Justine is unconscious. This provides a "what did we do last night?" air of mystery but it also hinders the character growth on screen. It's like the movie is trying to have Justine sleep through her character development. It's too bad because there are fascinating pieces and ideas that emerge like flotsam in the wake of Ducournau's tale. The second half has the potential to become a bizarre sisterly bonding story. How far is each sister willing to go to help the other and to cover up for her actions? Will there be a rivalry when they target the same man? These kinds of questions could have further explored their relationship, but alas it was not to be. You'll never know how the sisters are supposed to feel for one another throughout the movie. The characters are pretty thin to begin with and then Ducournau introduces a new element to provide added dimension and then lets it slip away. Back to shock value and obvious metaphors. Here's an example how Raw gets too caught up in the sensations of the moment, the allure of its images, which admittedly are a key part to horror. There's a scene where Justine is dancing in front of a mirror. She's wearing her sister's clubbing dress, an article of clothing she had earlier been disdainful over. Now she sways to the beats of a rap song and applies lipstick to her pert lips. She then gazes lustfully at her reflection and leans into the mirror, kissing it and herself. And then she does this for another minute, going in for like four more kisses, as if one wasn't sufficient. We get the idea pretty early, about Justine's emerging new self, her carnal cravings, and yet Ducournau keeps going, convinced that redundancy is required to satisfactorily convey obsession. Raw is also somewhat notorious on the festival circuit for its shock value. Reportedly people were fainting or leaving in droves from the content of the movie. I think this hyperbolic response is overblown. There is a fair bit of gore in the movie but it's almost all animal related. If you're an animal lover, watching corpse after corpse might be too much. I certainly averted my eyes more than once during a dog carcass autopsy. The human gore is surprisingly minimal though bloody. By far the most squirm-inducing part of Raw didn't involve cannibalism at all but a homemade Brazilian wax that gets a little too close for comfort for all involved. At least I now know what my tolerance level will be like for the eventual European coming-of-age horror film set at a waxing station. While watching Raw with my friend Ben Bailey, we would occasionally turn to each other after a shocking or gratuitously exploitative scene and say, "It is a French movie." When characters strip for casual nudity, or start chowing down on human remains, or frolic in blood-soaked clothing, we'd say, "It is a French movie." This turned into a game, ultimately with us imagining a climax involving a cannibalistic ménage à trios. "That," we remarked, "would be the ultimate French movie." Raw is a seductive and intriguing movie that has enough surface-level pleasures for devoted horror hounds. Unfortunately, it feels like the least interesting version of this story and premise. There are interesting pieces here to be certain. I just wish someone else had assembled them. Nate's Grade: C+

Nate Zoebl
Nate Zoebl

Super Reviewer

½

Absolutely bloody disgusting and provocative, "Raw" is a wholly unique cinematic experience. Concerning a young vegetarian girl attending veterinarian school, the film follows her through the initiation week of ridiculous co-ed hazing. Her sister who has preceded her at the school eggs her on in her extreme transformation from timid and bookish to a crazy party girl with a taste for raw meat. There is body horror and gore galore, evoking some of the most uncomfortable reeling shock since watching Jeremy Saulnier's "Green Room". This horror is well balanced with the theme of sexual awakening, violently and erotically explored by Garance Marillier, Ella Rumpf, and Rabah Nait Oufella. They party hard, and things escalate fairly quickly into varying degrees of cannibalism. A fundamental theme underlying the characters and their institution is a constant desensitization. Very much a product of our times, instantaneous hedonism has pushed Marillier's character to seek thrills and fulfillment beyond a typical teen's basic ideas of sexuality and sensory experience. As for the target audience, I have a lot of trepidation recommending the film to a general audience. It is not only off-putting but extremely irreverent about the violence and sex, but it never loses momentum and there are quite a few laughs considering the subject matter.

K Nife Churchkey
K Nife Churchkey

Super Reviewer

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