Never has a film been so aptly named. ‘Raw’ doesn’t just refer to the condition of the meat (human and non-human) involved in the plot, but also perfectly describes the feeling of the viewer after watching the film.

Abuse of the senses

The artistic attack on almost every sense, leaves you physically and psychologically affected by what you have seen. Those that manage to endure the entire film will leave feeling as though they have exfoliated their entire body with sandpaper - raw. While some things in the plot are inevitable, nothing is predictable. And it is this uncertainty that leaves the viewer vulnerable to the sporadic abuse of the senses.

Advertisements
Advertisements

The brutally honest graphic images feel disturbingly real, as opposed to appearing exaggerated for the sake of film, and so it is like watching a horrific documentary rather than a horror. The visuals are often supplemented by such intrusive and uncomfortable sound effects that the viewer can’t help but feel slightly tortured. The sights and sounds combined then result in physical reactions; from compulsive scratching triggered by an empathetic link to the protagonist’s rash, to feelings of nausea as you witness unnatural and uncomfortable occurrences.

Powerful and artistic

It is difficult to avoid drawing comparisons between the film’s Director #Julia Ducournau and the french dramatist Antonin Artaud as he, in his Theater of Cruelty, often set out to invoke the same physical reactions and uncomfortable feelings that Raw does.

Advertisements

It is a film that he would no doubt be enthralled by.But, all of these sensory reactions would not be achieved without the aid of the powerful and artistic cinematography and the truly incredible performances of the actors involved. Garance Marillier, a relatively unknown actress, deserves as much attention for her on-screen metamorphosis as the film does for its shocking nature. Symbolised by her shedding skin, but brought to life by Marillier’s acting ability, the character goes from lamb to lioness. And the transition isn’t smooth or subtle, but neither is it unbelievable. Marillier manages to transform her character’s personality, sexuality and of course appetite in a way that is not only accepted by the audience but also felt by them.

Rating

It's definitely no Beauty & The Beast, but this is a film that will be studied for years to come. While it isn’t a comfortable or even enjoyable watch, its aims are perfectly accomplished in an artistic and raw fashion - 5/5. In cinemas 7th April 2017.

Raw is just one of three horror films to look out for this year.