The directorial debut of Mimi Cave, Fresh follows Noa (Daisy Edgar-Jones), a young woman whose search for romance appears to be at an end when she meets the charming Steve (Sebastian Stan) at a supermarket. The young woman falls head-over-heels in love, and against her best friend Mollie’s (Jojo T Gibbs) advice takes him up on an offer of a surprise getaway. She soon discovers that Steve is hiding a horrifying secret, and both she and Mollie must fight to ensure she makes it out of her tryst alive.
Fresh does a fantastic job at blending the horrific with the comedic in its scripting, highlighting the absurdities of modern life by taking them to their logical – and awful – extremes. It’s a tricky balance to get right, but the film maintains narrative momentum, creating a consistent feeling of tension and dread while also not pulling any punches with its comedy.
There’s a lot to say about a lot of subjects, ranging from the struggles of online dating to the inherently exploitative and violent nature of capitalism, but the movie weaves its commentary seamlessly into the storytelling, tackling all of its talking points efficiently and effectively. While the plot is somewhat straightforward in places, the script uses the simplicity of the story on paper to add complexity to the wider themes and motifs, making for a satisfying experience.
Fresh’s strong writing is bolstered by stylish and dynamic cinematography that keeps the onscreen action engaging and, well, fresh. It’s also helped greatly by its talented cast, who all deliver strong performances and effortlessly shift between comedic and emotive to match the tone. Edgar-Jones is a likeable and funny everywoman protagonist, who bounces off her co-stars well, and Stan is delightful as the unrepentant but suave Steve, managing to be hilarious even as he indulges in his grisly work.
Fresh is a very strong debut for Mimi Cave, mixing the two great flavours of horror and comedy in a deceptively rich and complex blend that still manages to have a lot of meat on its narrative bone. The ways it plays with genre might make it an acquired taste for some, but for audiences willing to indulge, there’s a lot here to sink their teeth into.
Fresh is released digitally on demand on 18th March 2022.
Watch the trailer for Fresh here: