Review: Raw (2016)

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Julia Docournau’s striking feature debut caused quite the stir upon its premiere the Toronto International Film Festival – and no wonder. In it, Justine (Garance Marillier), an animal rights advocate and strict vegetarian, heads off to veterinary school, where – as part of a hazing ritual – she’s forced to eat rabbit. This ignites a hunger inside her like nothing she’s ever experienced before. It’s a bloody and visceral spiral into uncontrollable carnage from here (there are plenty of scenes involving animals being cut open and turned inside out), yet one that Docournau handles with remarkable restraint. Marillier delivers an excellent performance, her very face and body changing as her desires manifest, matched by Ella Rumpf as her sister. The score adds to the constraining atmosphere, as does the claustrophobic use of location. There, too, is a powerful feminist edge underneath. Docournau has made a ferocious entry into the modern-day horror canon that’s brilliantly shocking, with a strong feminist edge and smatterings of dark humour.

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