Sebastian Stan and Daisy Edgar-Jones star in this twisted romcom/ stomach churning horror which propels The Tinder Swindler to ideal marriage material. It’s not often a film comes along and surprises you with a twist so out of the blue that your jaw hits the ground as you try to take in what’s happening.
Online dating is a minefield and as we watch Noa (Edgar-Jones) navigate her way through a menu of bad dates, potential love finds her where she least expects it. As she meets Steve (Stan) down the fresh produce isle at the grocery store, the tracks are laid for the perfect romcom. Here before her appears to be the perfect guy with bundles of charm and romance – what could go wrong? Noa ignores the red flags of his lack of social media presence and agrees to a romantic weekend away with him. As she becomes drowsy while sipping away at her welcome drink, the tone of the film takes a sharp change in direction and the credits role after a whole 30 minutes, shifting our expectations of what we’re about to witness.
Without giving too much away, the movie’s title is a huge hint and there are scenes which made me feel as woozy as when I watched The Human Centipede for the first time. Many horrors suffer from shying away from gore but Mimi Cave directs a movie which has a perfect blend. It holds back a lot, providing quality over quantity, which means that what we do see is practically disturbing. I wouldn’t watch this just after eating your dinner. Fresh could perhaps be seen as commentary on how we interact with people in the modern world, particularly on the dating scene as Steve benefits from all the information Noa innocently offers him on their dates. What’s scarier is that as their twisted relationship builds, she learns that he does actually seems to be everything he initially portrayed himself to be – just with a sinister hidden interest.
Daisy Edgar-Jones impressed us all in Normal People and here she confirms again her leading lady abilities. Sebastian Stan appears to be picking roles which show off variety as an actor, reminding us that he’s more than Captain America’s bestie. He is fantastic to watch and doesn’t overdo the crazy at all, giving us a first class villain. The supporting cast do a great job too with Jojo T. Gibbs becoming way more involved than she wanted to as Noa’s best friend, Molly and Dayo Okeniyi breaking up a pretty tense scene with some perfectly timed comedy as Paul. There are actually plenty of tongue in cheek one liners thrown in throughout the movie which make you wonder if it’s ok to laugh even though you’re witnessing something so hideous.
The movie ends on less of a stronger foot than it’s first two acts as it leans slightly more towards a more formulaic story. However, that doesn’t spoil the WTF moments of what’s been before and as much as you’ll want to cover your eyes at times, you won’t be able to look away from the depravity of some very taboo subject matter, portrayed disturbingly well.
Fresh is available now in the US on Hulu, and from Friday 18 in the UK on Disney+.