The cannibal horror film follows a 16-year-old vegetarian who is forced to eat a raw rabbit liver during her school’s humiliating hazing ritual. After devouring the meat, she starts to crave more flesh. The movie made its premiere at this year’s Cannes Film Festival where it won the FIPRESCI Prize and was recently screened at the Toronto Film Festival. Here’s what critics are saying.
Variety’s Catherine Bray saw the film at Cannes and stated that the jurors would have to reach for the barf bag.
“‘Raw’ is a deliciously fevered stew of nightmare fuel that hangs together with a breezily confident sense of superior craft. Genre-led distribs will be slavering for a taste, while crossover to a slightly more mainstream crowd may be possible, provided they have strong stomachs.”
Jordan Mintzer of The Hollywood Reporter was impressed by Ducournau’s first feature, noting:
“It’s rare to see such confidence in a first feature, yet Ducournau seems to know where she’s going at all times, keeping the narrative lean and mean while utilizing an array of stylistic techniques…Performances from relative newcomers Marillier and Rumpf are captivating and imposingly physical, especially during what may be the most painful sequence of feminine hygiene education ever shot, as well as a sisterly catfight of a rare and disturbing brutality.”
After watching the film at TIFF, Joe Lipsett of Bloody Disgusting wrote that “Raw,” “perfectly balances horrific and comedic elements.”
“‘Raw’ is an extremely confident film that will satisfy both gore hounds and purveyors of smart horror. It is one of the most surprising films of the fest and should be particularly appealing to audiences who appreciate France’s brand of extreme horror. It is highly, highly recommended.”
Alison Willmore of BuzzFeed News added:
“‘Raw’ is filled with surreally Cronenberg-esque peeks at vet training within the brutalist walls of the campus building, from dog dissections to a horse running on a treadmill. It’s an effective accompaniment to the vivid gore, which was enough to send about two dozen people in my screening heading for the door not long into the movie.”
Noted Sight and Sound’s Chloe Roddick:
“Though ‘Raw’ is gruesome, with gore and sound effects so realistic they are sometimes difficult to stomach, Ducournau’s intelligent exploration of femininity gives depth to the film’s visceral, bloody celebration of the body and its appetites.”