You may have heard the rumblings over a movie that allegedly induced fainting during a screening at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival. Marketing stunt or not, it worked.
The second and final TIFF showing of French/Belgian cannibal movie Raw was sold out. But no one passed out.
Raw is a “tender” coming-of-age film about a 16-year-old girl in her first week of college and ultimately, on a journey to self-discovery. Having been raised as a vegetarian, Justine (Garance Marillier) partakes in a hazing ritual in which she is pressured into eating a raw rabbit kidney and thus, begins to crave meat. Things escalate quickly. Set against the backdrop of veterinary school, the aesthetic is slightly unsettling, though there are well-timed comedic moments that walk the line of a dark, dark comedy. Apart from one unique cringe-worthy scene, the story is not overshadowed by overdone shock-horror like an average slasher flick. There is no unnecessary violence or gore (for a movie about consuming human flesh), the timing is well-paced and underlying themes meaningful. The final scene is, dare I say, touching.
Raw is written and directed by Julia Ducournau and features a dedicated performance by Garance Marillier and Ella Rumpf (Justine’s older sister, Alexia). The film received an award at its world premier at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.
Whether you believe the hype or not, you will not be disappointed in not requiring medical assistance.
I give Raw two severed finger stumps up.