The Curator of Schlock #250 by Jeff Shuster
I’m not moving to France.
Each year, I try to cover a cannibalism movie the day after Thanksgiving as a means to gross out my readership after they’ve gorged themselves on candied yams and other assorted delicacies. But I may have bit off more than I can chew this time. I watched Raw, a 2017 French film from director Julia Ducournau. This isn’t a fun cannibalism movie like Cannibal Apocalypse. This movie is disturbing. And it smells. And I know movies don’t smell, but trust me, this one does. And it smells bad!
Why do I do it? Today is Black Friday, the greatest of all American holidays, and I’m here talking about French cannibals. Where do I begin? I really don’t want to remember this movie. So there’s this girl named Justine (Garance Marillier) who’s starting her first semester at a veterinary school in France, or is it Belgium? This movie is a French/Belgium production so it could be either country. It’s not like I can tell. I never went backpacking in Europe or anything like that. And I know if Justine is attending veterinary school, she must be a woman and not a girl, but nothing about her looks or demeanor screams adult. She comes off as very innocent. I guess her parents sheltered her most of her life. Justine was also raised to be a strict vegetarian.
Also attending this school are Alexia (Ella Rumpf), Justine’s older sister who’s a bit of a wild child, and Adrien (Rabba Oufella), Justine’s gay dorm roommate. On the first day of school, Justine, Adrien, and the rest of the first year students get doused in animal blood and are force fed rabbit kidneys as part of a hazing ritual. Justine pleads with Alexia to get her out of it, but Alexia tells to not be a flatliner or something to that effect. Justine swallows the rabbit kidney and this is where her troubles begin.
Not long after ingesting the rabbit kidney, Justine develops a horrible rash all over her body. When she visits the campus doctor, she’s advised to fast for a day. Then the doctor proceeds to peel the infected skin off of her body while smoking some Lucky Strikes. That’s just nasty. We don’t need to see that. The rash goes away, but Justine develops a hankering for meat. She sneaks a salisbury steak into her pocket while waiting on the cafeteria lunch line. Justine then insists that Adrien take them out for some shawarma at a nearby gas station. You can get shawarma at gas stations in France? Cool. I’m still not moving there.
Later on, Justine hangs out with Alexia. Her big sister shows her how to pee while standing up. Then Alexia gets her middle finger cut off while giving Justine a Brazilian wax. Alexia passes out. Justine frantically calls the French equivalent of 911. The paramedics won’t arrive for fifteen minutes. They tell her to put Alexia’s severed finger on ice, but there’s no ice in Alexia’s apartment. Justine gazes longingly at Alexia’s severed finger. She licks it, takes a little nibble, savors the tastes, starts to rip off more chunks, devouring her sister’s flesh. Then Alexia wakes up, a look of horror spreading across her face. You can’t reattach a half-eaten finger. It only gets worse from here. I could go on, but I need to retain what’s left of my sanity. I think I’ll go out for some shawarma.
Jeffrey Shuster (episode 47, episode 102, episode 124, episode 131, and episode 284) is an MFA graduate from the University of Central Florida.
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