Director: Julia Ducournau
Writer: Julia Ducournau
Starring: Garance Marillier, Ella Rumpf and Rabah Nait Oufella
This film begins showing us a stretch of road that is quiet. We see someone walking along it. It shifts to the other direction and a car is coming. The person falls into the road in front of it, causing the car to crash into a tree. The person gets up and walks around to the driver’s side.
We then shift to a woman going through a line in cafeteria. She is played by Garance Marillier. She states she is a vegetarian and only wants mashed potatoes. She sits down with her mother and father to eat. They are played by Laurent Lucas and Joana Preiss. Marillier spits out a bunch of her food, because there is a meatball in it. Priess asks if she bit into it and goes to complain. We see that Lucas is more laid back to Priess.
Marillier is taken to school. She is attending a popular veterinary school, like her parents. Her older sister is also attending, but she doesn’t show up to help her sister move in. That night we see Marillier in her room and something loud in the hallway wakes her up. She leaves her bedroom to find her new roommate. He is played by Rabah Nait Oufella. She requested for a girl, but he informs her that he is gay. He has a ski pole and ready to defend them if he has to. It turns out to be upperclassman and this is a hazing ritual. They are taken from their room, their mattresses thrown out the window and they are herded away.
They are taken to a rave. This is a hive of drinking, drugs and debauchery. Marillier tries to find her place in everything. She seeks out Oufella who starts to make out with a man. She then finds her sister. She is dancing on an elevated platform. Her sister is played by Ella Rumpf. She is happy to see her sister and they go off together. When Marillier attempts to go home, she is told she can’t, they can only go when the upperclassman call it a night. She is coming home at dawn exhausted.
The next hazing ritual is blood being poured on them. They are forced then to eat a raw rabbit kidney. Marillier tries to get out this by stating she is a vegetarian. Rumpf is called over and she eats the kidney. She tells Marillier to do it and to not wimp out. She is then forced to do so.
We then see that Marillier is a prodigy student. Everything comes easy to her, but this angers a professor, played by Jean-Louis Sbille. Oufella is struggling with a test and tries to copy off of her and she doesn’t allow it. Sbille even goes as far to state that she is cheating or Oufella is. He says the other students hate her due to genius.
She has other things to worry about though. A horrible rash has broken out on her body and it itches. She also has grown a craving for meat, especially raw meat. Inner desires are also growing inside of her as well.
Is there anything really wrong with her? Or did eating the meat awakening something inside of this young woman? How far will she go?
I have to lead off that coming into this, I had heard a lot about this film via podcasts I listen to. My father even tried to watch it first and couldn’t get through it. This really sparked my interest. With that said, I was blown away. This film is amazing in my opinion. The overlying issue of the cannibalism is great. There is a scene that made me cringe due to how real it looked. What caused this though wasn’t even the gore, but just he sheer realism of it. This film goes way beyond that. It really is a coming of age story of Marillier, which I can relate to. She has been sheltered with her parents her whole life and now that she is away at college, she is letting loose. She is trying to find her place and where she fits in. The changes within her after eating meat are very similar to tasting the forbidden fruit. It also is interesting that the mother has this same problem and couldn’t control herself, so her way was repression. Rumpf on the other hand, had thus far decided to give into her desires. Marillier is trying to find out what is best for her. It is a cautionary tale of moderation. Her urges force her to eat raw meat. It is also interesting that all of the powerful characters are women in this film. I loved how this story plays out and the ending was great.
The acting in this film was top notch. Marillier was perfect in this role. I’m surprised at how talented she was. She is this age and I truly felt like I was watching her actually go through everything that she did. Rumpf did very well as the darker older sibling. She is trying to undo everything their mother instilled, even going as far to cover up things her sister does. Preiss isn’t seen a lot, but you can feel her presence when she is on screen. Oufella also does good as someone who gets caught up in this and clearly is just a pawn being used. I thought the rest of the cast rounded out with what they needed their characters to do.
Effects in this film were amazing. Everything looked to be practical and it got to me. There is a bikini waxing scene that made me cringe. I can’t do the sight of real blood and the film simulates what ends up happening so well that my hands went numb. I shared this, because the effects were that good. The editing of this film is amazing. I like the opening scene and how it gets tied back in during the twist. The film has lower very time and it is perfect in my opinion. The score of the film didn’t stand out to me. It neither hurt nor helped the film in my opinion.
Now with that said, I was blown away by this film. It is more than just a cannibal film. There some deeper issues that are explored with this concept in the forefront. The story was amazing. The acting was very good. The effects were great as was the editing. The score doesn’t stand out, but I have nothing negative to state about it. I will say that this film was from France so I watched it with subtitles on. If that is an issue then avoid this. It also is bloody and some of the effects look almost like it is really happening. If you have a weak stomach for that, I would recommend avoiding this as well. If not, I think you are in for a truly great film. I highly recommend this if you can take it.
My Rating: 10 out of 10