One thing not to be expected upon watching the opening scene of “FRESH”, director Mimi Cave‘s new horror comedy thriller, is laughing your head off at said opening scene with Chad (Brett Dier) and Noa (Daisy Edgar-Jones), while watching them on a date. Chad is the guy you never want to find yourself on a date with, but it’s hilarity like this that makes you think this is just going to be a harmless little rom-com. Well you will have sorely mis-judged your expectations because you are about to be taken on a fantastic wild little ride that you will not soon forget.
As we’ve now met Noa on the date from hell, we soon find out she is just one of the many young, single women who has been looking for love in all the wrong places, like dating apps, hence the terrible date with Chad. So when she randomly meets the charming and very good looking Steve (Sebastian Stan), in the produce section at the local grocers, she falls for his charming ‘cotton candy grapes’ line and ends up exchanging numbers. From there, things move fast, a little too fast if you were to ask her best friend Molly (Jojo T. Gibbs), as Noa ends up throwing caution to the wind and goes on a weekend getaway with Steve. But I mean who wouldn’t – honestly, they have great chemistry and he is fun, different and yes, re-‘Fresh’ing.
Honestly, not knowing much about this film is how you should go into watching this one, as it made me feel glad to not have anything revealed to me beforehand. Watching everything unfold as it does and finding out who Steve really is, is just something that needs to be as savoured as the meals Steve prepares for Noa. But be prepared as this skillfully directed film has a plot that is as diabolical as they come and those meals Steve cooks, can be profoundly disturbing. But perhaps the best part is as psychologically terrifying as this one is, it barely touches on any in your face violence or gore, but instead its the sheer psychological terror of each minute, that keeps you entirely focused on what’s happening in front of you. And mind you, some of the things happening will chill you to your core as the subject matter is grisly, but in mostly in the thought of it all because it is so realistically handled by Cave’s direction here as it’s definitely not for the faint of heart.
Fresh can be genuinely disturbing and unsettling, at times even nauseating, but you will also find that you can’t look away for a second and this is mostly because of two factors, those being Sebastian Stan and Daisy Edgar-Jones. They are insanely good here as Stan is so charming, yet so dark and mysterious, turning into almost repellant, and yet feels like he is what you would get if swiped right on a hot Tinder version of Hannibal Lecter, because yes, we would swipe right on him. Edgar-Jones, plays her persona more than just convincing as she uses reverse psychology on Steve and does it so competently and never gives into the victim cliché. And there is a dance scene that should just not be missed by anyone and this whole film should truly fall into cult classic heaven. Even the supporting cast comes through here adding belief into each scene. While I admit it’s one fault is the ending felt a bit rushed and cheesy, but with the first 30 mins getting you in the mood before revealing the big “surprise” twist, it really doesn’t matter.
But again, I can’t stress enough to go into this as blind as possible but also be prepared for what’s to come as It can get quite unnerving and rather intense at times, but in oddly all the right ways. Here is what I know and what will stick with me for some time – Mama Rosa’s meatballs will never look the same for me for some time to come, and after watching this and The Tinder Swindler, I am never dating again – well that is until ‘Steve’ pops up on my phone.
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Review Screening ~ Courtesy of Ginsberg/Libby PR
“FRESH” premieres exclusively Hulu Friday, March 4, 2022