Tuesday, May 16, 2017


Garance Marillier in Raw (2016)

I wasn't expecting Raw (2016, directed by Julie Ducournau) to be funny. I mean, French extreme horror movies like Inside or Martyrs are often grim to a point where they cease being entertainments and become endurance tests. Raw is definitely in the tradition of those films, but Raw isn't like that. Don't get me wrong: Raw is a profoundly disturbing and visceral movie, one that isn't shy about employing a gross-out scene here and there. Nor is its splatter of a slapstick variety, a la The Evil Dead. It's a deadly serious movie. And yet there are laughs to be had; some laughs come from actual jokes, some come from the cinematic audacity of the filmmakers. And some of them come from the way the filmmakers take the horror genre's structure and combine it with a contemporary naturalism. The way this is filmed doesn't feel like it's necessarily a horror movie, but the structure of the film, from its alarming first scene to its final whip of the tale, is derived almost entirely from the genre. I suggested to friends that after the final scene unfolds, I wouldn't have been surprised to find the Crypt Keeper sending the audience to the exit with some ghastly bon mot. Writer/director Julie Ducournau, making her first feature, is keenly aware of her traditions. The resulting film is self-aware and funny without being a parody.