Sixteen-year-old Justine is a principled vegetarian. She therefore refuses to eat meat at the hazing when she starts at university, to the annoyance of her older sister Alexia. When she is forced to eat a rabbit anyway, she quickly develops a craving for more meat. Sure-fire horror sensation is a stylish and gruesome fairy-tale, in which sisterly love, body horror and cannibalism go hand in hand.
The news of audience members fainting during a screening in Toronto, has made Julia Docourneau’s debut film the must-see horror of the moment. But that distracts from the true qualities of the film. Right from the very first scene of the night-time hazing, Docorneau manages to sustain a feeling of impending doom throughout the entire film. She doesn’t shy away from gruesome scenes, but also focuses on Justine’s morbid coming-of-age, making Raw a film about sexuality, identity, self image and conformation as well. Fortunately, the director steers well clear of that last one.