1h39 – Drama – Horror 2016
I like French horror movies and I am not the only one. Movies like “Martyrs”, “Inside”, “High Tension” or “Frontier” were all well-made and extremely disturbing and managed to keep me and many others on our chairs or cinema seats.
Basically, Justine, the protagonist, arrives at the University where her sister already studies to become a veterinary. Besides discovering something very creepy about herself, she has to undergo several rites of passage from a fresh(wo)man into a regular student.
Due to Justine’s core problem, “Raw”, could actually be seen as very disturbing. However, it reminded me of another movie, the Danish film “When Animals Dream”, another metaphor for the coming of age of a young girl. Being a horror flick, it is portrayed in a gruesome and sinister way, of course. But as “When Animals…”, “Raw” did not quite make me shiver as for example “Frontiers” or “Martyrs” did. Fist of all, because I had this déjà-vu. Second, although I did not see the ending coming, once I saw it I did not find upsetting at all. Third, some scenes were illogical. For example when the protagonist’s sister, Alex, faints having her finger accidentally cut. Being what she is, and since we find out that she embraces her troublesome nature, this does not make sense and only works as pretext for the gruesome act that Justine will then do.
The silly games that Justine and the other freshmen had to play for the pleasure of their sadistic elder students did not help at all. Moreover, I have never seen anything like it – having mattresses tossed out of windows, having to eat internal organs of animals, being covered in blood… – at my University. Also, it did not make sense that the professors would let that happen without complaining.
The positive aspects of this movie is of course the performance of Garance Marillier. She and her “sister”, Ella Rumpf, were two strong female characters. Also, their roles were well depicted, as they were not one-dimensional or superficial. This made the whole movie enjoyable despite its flaws.