Modern dating seems rough. With the rise in dating apps over the last few years, dating has been changed forever. With the simple swipe of a finger, you could be “matched” with a random person and choose to meet them for a date. But who really is this person? All you’ve gathered is a brief description, a picture, and maybe a small conversation about the date, but you’ve never spoken or seen this person in real life. They could be a completely different person than their picture shows, they could have malicious intentions, or something even worse. Director Mimi Cave brings these fears to the forefront in her feature debut, Fresh, a twisted, gross, inventive horror film.
After a string of terrible dates, Noa (Daisy Edgar-Jones) has reached the end of her limits when it comes to dating apps and dating in general. While doing some routine grocery shopping, she encounters Steve (Sebastian Stan), a charming man who offers Noa a cotton candy grape. The two have a connection and go on a date. After a few nights hanging out, Steve invites Noa on a weekend trip, which Noa excitedly agrees to. But the trip isn’t what Noa expected and Steve begins to reveal who he really is.
Fresh starts off as a seemingly nice and fun romantic comedy. We get a girl down on her luck, a meet-cute in a grocery store, and a relationship growing before our eyes. But then thirty minutes in, Cave takes us and Noa out of our comfort zones, drops the opening credits (a brilliant move), and ushers us into a jaw-dropping film. Spoiling where this movie goes will take away from the experience, and boy is this an experience. The events that take place in the film are vile and may make some queasy, but Cave doesn’t bludgeon us with gore and blood. It is done in a smart, meticulous way that makes us think about the events that took place, rather than having us see what just happened, which is incredibly effective. The grossness is only elevated by the excellent cinematography and production design that is loaded with red sets and lighting.
Sebastian Stan gives easily the best performance of his career here, in a performance, unlike anything he has done before. Known by most as Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Stan proves that he is more than just a comic book movie actor and gives a devilish and charming performance as Steve. When Noa meets Steve, Stan glows with charm, making it hard for us and Noa to be intrigued by him. But Stan shines when the movie takes its turn, particularly in the quieter moments with Edgar-Jones, who gives a solid performance as the film’s final girl. Stan has moments that will make you laugh, terrify you, and almost
Fresh is a jaw-dropping movie. Led by a never-better Sebastian Stan, Fresh is an incredibly entertaining and horrifying movie and a stunning debut from Mimi Cave.
Fresh premiered in the MIDNIGHT category at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival.
Follow Kevflix on Twitter and Instagram, @kevflix, and on Facebook by searching Kevflix.