Fresh draws you in with a grisly spin to the well worn romantic comedy, but its underwhelming script doesn’t make the most out of its plot twist or social commentary.
It’s cold out there for singles and Noa isn’t doing so great. As soon as her recent match mansplains femininity during a date, she knew it’s a bust. Luckily later on, she meets a charming guy named Steve in a grocery meet-cute and they hit it off immediately. He invites her in a weekend getaway but first, they have to stay in his house deep in the woods. Noa, as expected, learns that it’s all too good to be true.
Fresh starts with an interesting set-up that’s relatable for any woman just trying to make it out there in the dating scene. The movie also reveals its title after 30 minutes when the plot twist is introduced, resulting into a nifty prologue that will make you stick around.
Director Mimi Cave is able to keep your attention by capturing the absurdity of the situation. She can deliver imagery that will make you gasp and moments that will make you laugh. Steve is the type of person who managed to turn doing what he loves into a thriving business. He has his own facility with the right equipment, storage, and selection of products in demand by rich clients. Trouble is, the source of this product is a different kind of animal.
While there are certainly entertaining moments in this movie, this two-hour long rom com/thriller drags on for too long. Fresh spends a lot of the time on two well cast but underdeveloped characters. The rest of the cast are POC characters treated as sidekicks.
Sebastian Stan has been carving a niche as the cute but toxic boyfriend, but watching a psychopath jam to his favorite tune while committing a horrible crime is only amusing the first time. Daisy Edgar-Jones doesn’t suddenly turn Houdini or becomes the final girl, but the movie doesn’t make us emotionally invested in her survival.
There is an underlying commentary here about how women are treated like meat and objects for conquest, but the movie doesn’t spark any discussion nor add anything to the conversation.
In the end, the movie just stops as if it ran out of gas.
Fresh isn’t as creative as it thinks it is, offering two squarely mediocre stories – an empowerment fable with stale observations about romance and a body horror that doesn’t go beyond convincing movie props.
On a positive note, there is talent behind the camera that will make you interested enough in Mimi Cave’s next movie.
Fresh is an intermittently entertaining thriller with a fitting cast that's held back by an underwhelming script.