Empire (UK) - - ON.SCREEN -

IT’S THE ART­HOUSE, not Hol­ly­wood, that’s push­ing the bound­aries of hor­ror. Cen­tred on a ve­gan ve­teri­nary stu­dent who turns can­ni­bal af­ter a haz­ing ri­tual, French in­die Raw has huge cross­over po­ten­tial. Un­likely as it sounds, it’s this year’s The Witch. “It’s weird, but the films have a lot in com­mon,” says de­but di­rec­tor Ju­lia Du­cour­nau. “They’re both about a girl strug­gling with sex­ual awak­en­ing while try­ing to es­cape her fam­ily.”

Pow­ered by a break­out turn from teenager Garance Mar­il­lier, Raw’s re­al­is­tic, chewy ef­fects have caused walk-outs and faint­ings on the fes­ti­val cir­cuit, but don’t be­lieve the hard-gore hype: chances are you’ll be too taken by the char­ac­ters to think about puk­ing. “It’s a risky movie to digest be­cause it doesn’t present a taboo like a cir­cus freak,” adds Du­cour­nau. “I just wanted peo­ple to love a can­ni­bal.” With body-hor­ror and meta­mor­pho­sis as its core themes, it’s a unique, Cro­nen­ber­gian ex­pe­ri­ence. Be afraid. Be ex­cited. But maybe skip the hot­dogs. SI­MON CROOK

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