SYNOPSIS: "Fresh" follows Noa, who meets the alluring Steve at a grocery store and- given her frustration with dating apps- takes a chance and gives him her number. After their first date, Noa is smiten and accepts Steve's invitation to a romantic weekend getaway only to find that her new paramour has been hiding some unusal appetites.
When modern dating goes wrong, you either go Dutch and swear never to meet your date again or continue to blame Cupid for not doing his job. That’s not the case with Noa (Daisy Edgar-Jones). Apparently, she got drugged by her date and ends up as a victim of cannibalism!
Noa is an average looking, lonely soul who has no luck when comes to online dating. Just when she is about to give up, she met a charming, funny guy named Steve (Sebastian Stan) at a supermarket who wins her over with a pickup line about cotton candy grapes.
Of course, Noa is going to fall head over heels for Steve even before the opening credits dropped. To be fair, it came in only at the 30 minutes mark. Who is going to hate a plastic surgeon who is equally smart and engaging? Shortly after, we presumed days later. Steve invites Noa for a short weekend getaway which of course turned into something more sinister and horrific than she imagined.
There are many movies out there that featured psychopaths and sadistic killers but Fresh stood out because of Sebastian Stan’s portrayal of Steve whom we later learned is actually named Brendan. Stan is charismatic to the point of lovable even if he is seen harvesting his victims and packing his clients’ orders. He sings. He dances. His sense of humour. Damn the man is perfect in every way and so is Stan’s performance here. At the same time, the character is still an enigma right till the finale.
Mimi Cave making her directorial debut delivers a wicked, modern take on female empowerment without being forceful and pretentious. That in turn is assisted by a wonderful script by Lauryn Kahn who filled the plotting with enough satire and twists to keep viewers engaged for the whole duration. The only setback is the character of Mollie (Jojo T. Gibbs), Noa’s best friend who brilliantly deserved more screentime and wacky one-liners.
Despite the grossed-out theme, the violence displayed here is pretty much subdued as compared to Eli Roth’s Hostel series perhaps owing to cinematographer Pawel Pogorzelski’s stylish camera work. He for the uninitiated is responsible for Midsommar and Hereditary so that helps a lot. Fresh while disturbing is a well-filmed and well-acted (the chemistry between Daisy Edgar-Jones and Sebastian Stan is sizzling) dark comedy. Just don’t chose pasta as a meal option when watching.
Review by Linus Tee