On first glance, the premise of Raw can be easily mistaken as a comedy. “When a young vegetarian undergoes a carnivorous hazing ritual at vet school, an unbidden taste for meat begins to grow in her”. What an opportunity for a hilarious exploration of a vegetarian to go commando on all of her carnivorous compadres no? Perhaps it was only me who was thinking this could turn into a gory comedy as we watch vegetarians take back society, one piece of meat at a time. It would be the ultimate message to never judge those who have different lifestyles to you.
Whilst this wasn’t the case for the film and my hopes were sadly dashed away, what was left was still one hell of an experience. It’s hard to know exactly where to begin when describing such a movie so I’ll start with the most noteworthy aspect: pacing. Once the ball gets rolling, the plot just escalates incredibly. Trust me, you’ll be wanting that hazing ritual to come as quickly as possible. That is if you’re into vegans turning into rogue cannibals. Who isn’t right? I mean, Hannibal Lector is one of the greatest villains of all time. But maybe that’s because we never actually saw him eating anyone. I guess that’s one aspect Raw has on The Silence of The Lambs.
Without giving too much away, Raw works quickly to establish a dramatically uncomfortable tone. Even if you’ve seen the trailer or read the premise, the screenplay weaves more surprises than anticipated and this works great in keeping the story as fresh as possible. By surprises, I don’t mean over the top gory scenes. In fact, there isn’t that much gore, to begin with so if you’re worried that you’ve entered into a foreign film remaking of Saw III, fear no more. What I shall say is that the plot takes an interesting premise that appears shallow on the surface but turns into something far deeper by the end.
So what’s the catch? I’ve been praising its achievements for most of this review but only three stars? Is it shot terribly? Is it a film production aspect? Well no. Those aspects are actually fantastic. From the opening shot, you can tell that this is a professional production with the director of photography truly shining in his role. And every shot after following in the same sense. No, what lets this film down is within its overall impact. If it’s intention is to make the audience uncomfortable then yes this is accomplished. But it seems that’s what it only trying to do. I can’t really take much else from it as it doesn’t really have a key message or theme. Throw in a few plot holes and some scenes that were intended to be dramatic but that acted comedically and three stars are made up.
But don’t get me wrong. For movies at this rating, this is the best one in 2017 so far. I have no doubt that for others it would be higher and I almost want to give it higher just for creating such an immersive and lurid atmosphere. It’s achievements by far outweigh its negatives and I’d still recommend seeing this when you can. It’s a totally different experience compared to movies out right now and it is sure to get your stomachs turning and mouths talking about what you just witnessed. Maybe book a second screening to see Guardians of The Galaxy Vol. 2 afterward to ease you back down to Earth.