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Raw Movie Review

It’s time for another movie review presented by our good friends over at FatCats Gilbert on the southwest corner of Greenfield and Baseline. FatCats Gilbert is the best place to take the entire family without breaking the bank! To plan your next family day at FatCats Gilbert, you can click right HERE!

This is kind of an interesting movie to talk about. First off, it’s a French horror movie. That’s something that immediately caught my attention. I have never seen a foreign horror movie in theaters let alone one that carried the reputation that Raw did. From what I’d been hearing, Raw made its way around the film festivals and made audiences leave and throw up in the middle of the theater. That’s how you catch attention. Make people throw up in the middle of the theater. Whether you like horror or not, that’s pretty intriguing. Just as a side note, I saw multiple eight year old girls in this screening. I’m not sure if they were aware of the stories or not, but that kind of surprised me. Anyways, let’s talk about the movie!

Raw is directed by Julia Ducournau and stars Garance Marillier, Ella Rumpf, Rabah Nait Oufella, Laurent Lucas, and Joana Preiss. Justine, played by Marillier, has been a vegetarian her entire life. In fact, her entire family has. Or at least they have to her knowledge. When she attends veterinarian school like her mother and older sister, she finds that the animals aren’t always treated perfectly and that all of the students at the school have no issues with eating meat. It just takes one small taste of meat to turn Justine into a flesh-crazed monster who has trouble containing herself.

This is a much different movie than I was expecting. When I heard that people were throwing up and leaving the theater sick to their stomachs, I figured that I was in for something that I’d never seen before. I expected this to be one of the goriest and most disturbing movies I had ever seen. Well, it wasn’t exactly that. It ended up being an artistic display of colors and direction that is far from your standard horror movie that comes complete with demons, possessions, and jump scares. Oddly enough, I liked it a lot. The main actress in the film who plays Justine is just 19 years old, but she gives one of the best performances I’ve seen this year. Her life transitions so much from her home life to her stay at veterinarian school, and she perfectly captures the surprise and the horror of what she sees. She needs to completely shift and change in tone and personality, and she does it so well. She also brilliantly nails the aspect of discovery in the film. She discovers herself, she discovers what she likes, and she discovers the extremely dirty truths of life that parallel the coming-of-age stereotypes. I also love how this movie is directed. On top of excellent camerawork and use of color and creativity, it does something that most horror movies can’t or won’t do. It never fully releases tension. It never has that moment where you’re thrown back in your seat in awe but lose the tension. It keeps your attention just enough to be able to keep you invested in the story and maintain a watchability and sense of mystery surrounding the characters. Finally, this movie has a lot of great symbolism and real-world parallels in terms of growing up and interacting with both people and animals. The subliminal messaging with a comment on the world and awareness of youth is really fascinating, and I think that it will be a fun movie to pick apart and dissect.

I did have a couple of problems with the movie. First of all, I didn’t find the main character nearly as compelling as the story. It is the story of the main character, but I found the reactions, the story world, and everything going on around the main character far more compelling than the character herself. She also paled in comparison to the visuals and the chaos of “Rush Week,” if you will. She makes instant transitions and doesn’t seem to feel repercussions for her actions. Next, a lot of the horror aspects are very normalized. Again, this is a different kind of horror movie from The Conjuring and Sinister, so some viewers may find enjoyment in this aspect, but normalizing the situations where our main character is eating other humans didn’t work for me. Finally, I feel like there were minor details that could have been cleaned up by a script supervisor who was on top of every single frame of the film. There are some noticeable continuity errors or even errors in what’s happening on-screen that give away the idea that this is a movie. They’re small giveaways, but they’re not realistic depictions of certain actions.

Overall, Raw is a very different horror movie, and it may not be for everybody. If you love what the horror genre has brought to the table this year with Rings and The Bye Bye Man, Raw is probably not for you. If you like artsy horror films with symbolism and metaphor based stories, Raw is probably for you. The entire cast is excellent, and I bought into their actions most of the time despite not being able to buy into the normalization of most situations. It never fully releases the tension it builds, and I say that in the best way possible. It gave me just enough to keep me on the edge of my seat while never giving us the explosion that I expected, and through that it never fell off the train tracks. I’m going to give Raw a 7/10.

Will you be seeing Raw? If you’re here in Arizona, it will be opening exclusively at Harkins Valley Art this Friday! If you decide to give it a look, comment down in the comment section and let me know your thoughts! As always, thank you, and keep listening to 88.7 The Pulse!

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Justin Lyons

Hey, it's Justin Lyons! I am the Chief Film Critic for The Pulse. Have any questions for me? Please feel free to email me at movies@pulseradio.fm