Have You Eaten? Great, Here’s a Gross (But Visually Striking) Trailer for Raw, Then
Every so often, you hear those urban legends about movies or readings or plays or whatever that are so graphic, disgusting, and unsettling that it drives people to vomit and/or faint in the theater/bookstore/what have you. Raw is that movie, apparently, as during last year’s Toronto Film Festival, it distressed some viewers so much that they had to call in the paramedics to treat them.
According to the logline description of the film, the movie centers on Justine, whose entire family is made up of veterinarians and vegetarians. As she heads off to veterinary school at 16, she finds that her family’s alma mater has a strange hazing ritual involving forcing students to eat meat. The description finishes with: “Unexpected consequences emerge as her true self begins to form.”
Yeah, I’d say gross, skin-peeling rashes and sudden onset cannibalism safely fall under “unexpected consequences,” sure, okay. The trailer’s packed with quick jump cuts of these moments wherein Justine eats some kind of meat, and it’s left to you, the viewer, to decide what’s animal and what’s human. I’m sure the movie explains that, but hey, this is a trailer, and they can’t give up the ghost that easily.
“An ambulance had to be called to the scene as the film became too much for a couple patrons,” said Ryan Werner, who handles marketing for the film. Variety’s review sheds more light on the movie’s content:
Often so realistic that they are hard to look at, scenes that viewers of a sensitive nature may find disturbing see lacerated extremities, bite marks and gaping wounds perfectly walk the line between the visceral fun of practical effects and overt attention-grabbing.
Really, with a review like that (and a grip of other positive critical reactions), how could you not at least be curious?
There was a moment, though, that bugged me just the tiniest bit—which is saying a lot, given the fact that the movie’s based on cannibals. The structure of the trailer leads us to believe that one of the other “unexpected consequences” of Justine’s sudden addiction to meat of all kinds is a newfound sexuality of sorts. Whereas at the beginning of the trailer, she seemed very strait-laced and maybe a bit nerdy, and after she’s hazed, the scenes get a little more, uh… saucy?
There’s an interesting shot of her dancing in front of a mirror before she kisses it, and the trailer launches into a series of jarring cuts that juxtapose shots of animal body parts with shots of her making out with someone at a club and sitting on a counter with her legs spread. While I know and realize that it’s all symbolism, and that the moral of this story might very well be wrapped up in the almost predatory nature of sex and sexuality in today’s society, I just find it kind of interesting that the movie is sexualizing a 16 year old girl.
Again, without having seen the movie, I still feel fairly confident in saying that her age and these scenes are part of a morality tale, if not a plot point within the movie itself. That being said, I’m still likely going to check this out if/when it hits theaters stateside. If you want to do the same (though I don’t blame you for not wanting to), you can join me.
Raw opens in France on March 15th.
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