This story has been updated with new information provided by Toronto EMS.
A special midnight screening of the cannibal film Raw at the Toronto International Film Festival reportedly turned into a medical situation when an audience member took ill. The incident happened around 1 a.m. on Tuesday morning, according to Toronto EMS.
“We can confirm two patrons did feel unwell during the screening of Raw… one of which required the assistance of the emergency services,” added Jennifer Bell, Vice-President of Communications for the festival. “Incidents like this sometimes happen at TIFF screenings. The safety and security of all our patrons and guests is a priority for TIFF and any situation where an audience member is feeling unwell is handled with care and due professionalism by our venue teams.”
Ryan Werner, a spokesperson for the film, went on to tell The Hollywood Reporter the incident happened because the “film became too much” for the audience. He added he’d only seen this type of physical reaction to a movie once before (in response to Lars von Trier’s Antichrist).
The film, created by writer-director Julia Docournau, has been getting a lot of attention since it premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in May, where it took the FIPRESCI Critics’ Prize. (No incidents were reported after screenings in that city.)
The French-language film is about a shy, vegetarian college student at a veterinary college who develops an insatiable lust for flesh as the result of a gruesome hazing ritual.
Many people took to social media to speak about the horror movie incident in Toronto – a few even questioned whether it was a marketing stunt.
Encore screenings of the film will continue in Toronto through Saturday. After that, the controversial film will travel to a variety of other film fests, including Fantastic Fest, Mayhem Film Festival, Celluliod Screams, Beyond Fest and Sitges Film Festival.