Staunch Test FAIL.
Mimi Cave’s Fresh has the kind of genre-bending an audience loves to see. It starts off as a romcom where Noa (Daisy-Edgar Jones) struggles through the abyss that is online dating until she finally meets Steve (Sebastian Stan) at a grocery store and begins a period of bliss with this seemingly perfect man.
But even during the brief moment of happiness, there’s an undercurrent of gloom that’s impossible to miss. Steve surrounds himself with mystery and Noa’s trusted best friend Mollie (Jojo T. Gibbs) struggles to understand how he doesn’t even have an IG profile or any online footprint really. All Noa goes off is his word.
We’re almost midway through, however, before the story truly starts getting interesting – disconcerting, dark and at times bombastic. Steve kidnaps Noa and starts harvesting her body parts for his cannibal clients, who pay a premium price for just a plate made with fresh human female meat.
Through it all, Noa makes abhorrent decisions in order to fight for her survival. For a film that focuses on misogyny, sexualization and the gross consumption of women, literally, it’s quite fitting to see a subtle depiction of internalised misogyny. The film manages to be somewhat exciting, despite being slightly overlong.
Fresh is an interesting piece of socially conscious cinema, but an undoubted #StaunchTestFAil