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TIFF 2016: Paramedics Called to Premiere of Thriller Raw As Audience Members Pass Out

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Garance Marillier stars in Raw. - PETIT FILM / ROUCE INTERNATIONAL
  • Petit Film / Rouce International
  • Garance Marillier stars in Raw.
Many movies blast through the barriers of good taste, pushing the boundary between being too outrageous and shocking but still able to attract a mass audience. Only a handful of films, such as A Clockwork Orange and The Exorcist have successfully walked that line. Raw, the new hard-R rated cannibal thriller from director Julia Ducournau, stunned a Toronto International Film Festival 2016 Midnight Madness crowd on Monday and may be filmdom's next great shocker.

Raw was so overwhelming, Toronto paramedics were summoned to treat a number of audience members who passed out during the film—though some of the victims' friends accompanied them to the hospital. A few chose to stay and watch the rest of the movie. You can't buy publicity like that.

Raw (in French with English subtitles) takes blood and guts to a whole new level, rising far above the steady stream of horror flicks through an odd combination of smart writing, beautiful cinematography and life-like gore.

It begins as Justine (Garance Marillier) finds what appears to be a small piece of meat in her mashed potatoes while dining with her family at a local restaurant. Justine and her parents are horrified—they are strict vegetarians. The scene inspired a bit of nervous laughter from the audience because we thought we knew where the story was heading. We had no idea. A college hazing incident at a veterinary college includes a bath of animal blood and a late-night snack of raw liver, which launches Justine into a world of meat-eating neither she, nor we, could have imagined. The worst was yet to come.

I am repulsed by extreme gore and can be scared out of my wits at the drop of a severed head, but Raw is an impressive film, poised to become the most anticipated horror flick of the year.