Fresh (2022) – Review

We hear horror stories about modern dating all the time – they’re nothing new, unfortunately. Fresh, however, takes this on a whole new level,- and this is much more horrifying than your average scary “getting kidnapped by your Tinder date” scenario.

Mimi Cave’s new horror film Fresh has a modern and darkly humorous take on dating. We’ve seen and heard some embarrassing stories from our friends, from matches online not being who they really are in real life, to more extreme incidents as seen in Netflix’s Tinder Swindler. Dating can’t get any crazier than that…right?

Starring Daisy Edgar-Jones and Sebastian Stan and produced by Adam McKay, Mimi Cave adds a few twists to the horrors and anxieties that young people already face today. Noa (Edgar-Jones) has had enough of meeting up with guys online – she’s tried and tried but has only had awful dates who neg or eventually reveal themselves to be (un?)surpisingly misogynistic, with one even having the audacity to say that she’d look better in a dress. Then out of the blue, she manages to meet a handsome and charming doctor named Steve (Stan) – at a grocery store of all places! They start getting to know each other, and eventually start dating. However, like a lot of dating stories, this is too good to be true, and Noa’s best friend Molly (JoJo T. Gibbs) also starts digging into this man when she notices that something isn’t quite right.

The atmosphere developes from slightly rom-com in the beginning to ominous when the title card drops thirty minutes in, with the sense that something has clearly gone awry. Utilizing specific horror tropes, Cave doesn’t shy away from using dark and awkward humor – it’s realistic, it’s a little cringe-worthy as is expected on dates, yet it is also self-aware and engaging. Slasher genres often lean towards either gore and pure body-horror or comedy, and can be cumbersome to watch as originality is rather scarce. Fresh, however blends the two genres while subverting certain horror tropes that we’ve seen in horror films over and over again. Though the ending is not entirely mind-blowing and unpredictable, there is something refreshing about not seeing the archetypal “final girl” scene.

The cast also delivers their performance excellently, and despite being a part of the comedy-horror genre and its satirical feel, their dialog and personality are more multi-dimensional than expected. The relationship(s) and the chemistry the cast have with each other are well-developed too. There are solid moments of anxiety, humor, eccentrity, and sinisterness. Its irony and level of self-awareness also give credence to the fact that the audience has more than likely come across some of the common events present in a lot of horror films. The production design (done by Jennifer Morden) as well as the cinematography (Pawel Pogorzelski) fortify the structure of the plot: in the midst of some absurd moments, the sense of claustrophobia and angst are still potent.

This film proves that there are still ways to be hilarious and scary using typical horror tropes with a modern twist, while honing in on a more feminist perspective simultaneously. Although it has a very interesting premise the overall plot development is not its strongest suit, albeit still mysterious and captivating enough to keep the suspense going . The combination of the atmosphere, cast’s performance, and cinematography are what truly build the structure of the film. If you love a gory horror film that doesn’t take itself too seriously, this one is for you!


Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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