Raw ★★★★

Relentlessly gruesome, bold, and beautifully strange—Julia Ducournau’s first feature film Raw is a sisterhood-cannibal nightmare flick from hell. Raw tells the story of a young vegetarian woman who newly arrives at a vet university and begins to experience a personal and carnal awakening after eating meat. Ducournau fuses her own coming-of-age story with a horrifying, almost sadistic exploration of female sexuality by merging it with the controversial construct of cannibalism.

Highly stylized, graphic, and effective, Ducournau relishes on body horror to make an impact which is obvious for a cannibalism feature, but she projects it with a self-assuring, breathtaking command. Her attention to veterinary school as a backdrop is a bit heavy-handed at times, but proves to be a right fit for the film’s thematic special ingredient. The soundtrack and the images are disorienting which gave another grisly dimension to the film. The acting is believable, with newbie actress Garance Marillier chewing every moment she’s in and she’s actually fierce and magnetic. Overall, Raw is a bold, remarkable breakthrough feature from a first-time director Julia Ducournau. I’m not sure if I love it, but I admire it wholeheartedly.

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