Cinema has been laced with remakes and sequels for years now, especially in the horror genre, with films like Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Halloween being refreshed to death. But the new horror, thriller, and comedy, Fresh, is absolutely nothing I thought it would be, and I left the film still tangled up in a whirlwind of emotions. I sat in awe when it was finished, still not knowing what to make of what I had just seen, and I will do my best to review it here without spoiling any of what makes it so unique.
Fresh was directed by Mimi Cave, written by Lauren Kahn (Step Brothers, The Other Guys), and stars Daisy Edgar-Jones (Normal People) as the leading lady, Noa, and Sebastian Stan (The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Pam & Tommy) as our mysterious man, Steve. It is described as exploring the “horrors of modern dating”, but it may go a step or two further than that.
Noa’s dating life has gone dry, with her friend Mollie (Jojo T. Gibbs) playing the role of her supportive friend. Failed date after failed date, Noa finally meets Steve, and she is immediately smitten—and so are we as viewers. Mollie is skeptical, as any good friend would be, when Steve wants to take Noa away for the weekend just after they meet. But she wants to see her Noa happy, so she gives them her best wishes, and checks in frequently.
“The dialogue in Fresh felt natural, almost unscripted…”
You can see from the trailers, this is no fairy tale (even if Stan is a part of the Disney universe now). But I will save the plot descriptions from here, because Lauren Khan has quite an imagination and Mimi Cave helped paint the perfect picture. I left Fresh with a truly upset stomach, and I’m not squeamish. My chest was tight, and I felt genuinely anxious. This movie does not let you rest.
The dialogue in Fresh felt natural, almost unscripted, and every character managed to have excellent chemistry. Though Stan and Edgar-Jones are the primary focus, with Gibbs supporting, there are a few smaller roles throughout the film. Even those characters clicked and everyone fit together perfectly. I felt like I was watching myself and my friends gossip about dating, or myself on a first date. It felt very real, and perhaps that is why it’s so shaking—this could be me, it could be you.
Daisy Edgar-Jones hasn’t been in any huge blockbusters, but she held her own, and I’ve actually been looking for her other work since seeing Fresh. Her delivery and emotion completely drew me in. In one scene, she was in a mirror smiling. As I watched the smile fade from her face and her eyes go dead, chills ran up my spine.
But she has to be great to stand side by side with her co-star. Sebastian Stan is eerily likeable in Fresh. Even toward the end, when it turns out he is absolutely not Prince Charming (trailers spoiled this, not me), part of me still liked him. The way he can flow in and out of insane without taking a breath either makes him a phenomenal actor or a complete psychopath. I’m hoping it’s the former. I plan to search out more non-Winter Soldier roles of his as well. Pam & Tommy left me with some feelings too.
“Fresh is just that, fresh.”
I will note there are zero truly redeeming men in this film. Noa’s first date, Chad (Brett Dier), is utterly awful right until the credits roll. The bartender and friend, Paul (Dayo Okeniyi), has questionable morals. As for the rest, well, you’ll see. So, if you’re looking for your knight in shining armour, you won’t find him here. This film definitely gives women all the superpowers in a world ruled by men.
Fresh is just that, fresh. It’s a new story, new characters, and a new take on horror. It’s refreshing to see something that can completely shock me in 2022. I will recommend it to everyone I think can handle it—it’s not for the faint of heart. If you have Hulu, or Disney+ in Canada, and are looking for a movie that will turn your stomach and make you question your morals, Fresh is your first stop.