The Reel Review

B

Daisy Edgar-Jones (Normal People) and Sebastian Stan star in this satirical horror/thriller on Hulu about a woman, Noa, who finds herself in a mortal danger after she starts a romantic relationship with a handsome plastic surgeon who seems too good to be true. It turns out he is – and he’s hiding a stomach-turning secret.

Sebastian Stan and Daisy Edgar-Jones in Fresh.

Fresh starts out like an ordinary rom-com. It’s when the twist hits just before the opening credits at the 33 minute mark that you realize that the horror portion of the film officially is now well underway. To share much more of the plot will spoil the doozy of a twist – not so much because of what our villain is into – it’s fairly easy to figure out if you are paying close attention – but more in just how totally unexpected and bonkers the rest of the film is. If you are not a fan of the Saw or Hostel horror films you almost certainly will not like this one. Fresh takes body horror to nauseating new heights.

Sebastian Stan in Fresh.

In her feature film debut, director Mimi Cave gives Lauryn Kahn’s symbolism-filled mashup of Get Out and Hannibal a unique style, some surreal humor and lots of gnarly, meaty closeups. Edgar-Jones is convincing as our “don’t show him you are mortified” victim, but it is Sebastian Stan who steals the show with a disturbingly convincing, maniacal performance. Jojo T. Gibbs, as Noa’s bestie Mollie, turns out to be totally spot on about our villain in more ways than one. If you can stomach it, Fresh is an edgy, gruesome horror flick with a message about the objectification of women.

REEL FACTS

• Daisy Edgar-Jones earned Critics’ Choice, BAFTA and Golden Globe nominations for her leading role in the 2020 miniseries Normal People, about two young star-crossed lovers growing up in Ireland.

• Sebastian Stan (Avengers: Endgame, I, Tonya) says he consulted with renowned psychiatrist Dr. Dorothy Lewis in researching his role as the psychopath, Steve. Lewis specializes in mulitple personality disorder and has served as an expert witness on a number of high-profile cases, including that of serial killer Ted Bundy.

Sebastian Stan and Fresh director Mimi Cave.

• Fresh director Mimi Cave is based out of Los Angeles. In addition to filmmaking, she directs music videos and is a choreographer.

 

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