I suppose I'll use this thread from now on for reviews of French films, if that's alright with you DH.
Grave / Raw (Julia Ducourneau, 2016)
French cinema has a complicated relationship with genre... indeed it is a very common complaint among French cinephiles that genre cinema is continuously underappreciated and underfinanced here. This year though, they seem to have a winner on their hands, as this film has been racking up awards on the festival scene and seems sure to make a splash internationally, though I'm sure the Césars will mostly ignore it and allow those complaints to persist.
I bring this up because this film, while clearly part of genre cinema*, specifically body horror (it is quite hard to stomach, vague pun possibly intended), also very much looks and feels like your typical French arthouse film. The way characters speak is very muchy within that tradition, something that can also be said about another recent outlier in the national scene, Elle. Therein lies the trouble I think, because the juxtaposition of that style with the inherent ridiculousness of things that can happen in a horror movie (especially towards the end) is a bit of a problem. There is a bit of a tonal dissonance there that works against the film, as if it wants to be both naturalist and have, you know, veterinary students turn cannibal on each other... and it kind of limits it both ways.
That being said... it's well worth watching, and when it works, it really works. The horror parts of it are particularly well-done, but some other moments, like the scene in which she's listening to music while watching herself in the mirror, also land really well, in large part thanks to a very strong performance by Garillier, a complete unknown before this. I'd love to say it bites off more than it can chew, but it is very rich thematically. I couldn't help but link it to Bunuel, since the main plot could be reduced to the simple idea that any repression in education will lead to excessive consumption, though I'm not entirely sure how the ending fits into that, which is probably why I dislike it.
* a term that annoys me but we all know what it broadly means at least.