Dir. Mimi Cave
Reviewer. Martyn Wakefield
The mundane lifestyle of swiping right and left comes to an end for Noa (Daisey Edgar Jones) when a trip to the supermarket gives her a chance encounter with Steve (Sebastian Stan). The charming tongue of Steve leads to a hope for Noa as she moves forward with a weekend away with the new Romeo. Unfortunately, Steve is man of taste... for human flesh.
The opening chemistry between Stan and Edgar Jones is sweetly charming and wraps a sense of comfort between the two. This is a horror film and things that first seem sickly soon cause nausea as Stan is unravelled to be quite possibly the darkest fiend in recent history.
Mimi Cave's feature debut is nothing short of special and behind the super clean lens is a rom-com turned full blown horror that dances between genres much better than the leading duo dance to Endless Summer Nights by Richard Marx. Yes, this soundtrack is everything a rom-com needs.
Each scene evolves and goes deeper into the forbidden rabbit hole creating layers and layers of disturbing character to Steve and the lowest depths that Lauryn Kahn's script will drive him down. A conversation discussing the food the pair are eating as to "save the breast til last" and "she's got better tits than me" adds emotionally draining shifts from laugh out loud humour to the realisation of what is going on which cease all humour entirely. This emotional rollercoaster is to the films credit and is masterfully played by Edgar Jones and Stan from start to end. No brick is unturned as the film goes on a journey unlike no other.
AMERICAN PSYCHO meets HOSTEL in the first real delve into horror form Disney Plus. FRESH is the most disturbingly brilliant film that the horror genre deserves right now. Stan's cutesy charisma bears little resemblance to the acts he's unfolding and it's only when you stop and think does the true terror reveal itself. In its style and certainly the foot stomping soundtrack, everything about FRESH feels like it has its place on the Disney streaming service but there's undertones of real evil not seen in a villain since the likes of Anthony Hopkins in SILENCE OF THE LAMBS or Anthony Perkins in PSYCHO. The nuanced balance between sane and pure insanity is masterfully played out by Stan who will be more familiar with viewers as troubled hero/assassin, the Winter Soldier from the MCU.
Underneath the charm, there's something truly sickening about this film but also there's an element of dark, very dark, humour that makes the unravelling abuse, torture, harvesting of human flesh, so eye-catchingly addictive. Just don't take a cherry Old Fashioned if it's ever offered.