Fresh (2022) poster

Fresh (2022)


USA. 2022.


Director – Mimi Cave, Screenplay – Lauryn Kahn, Producers – Adam McKay & Kevin Messick, Photography – Pawel Pogorzelski, Music – Alex Somers, Visual Effects – Factory VFX (Supervisor – Nicholas Cerniglia), Fuse (Supervisor – Jon Cowley) & Picturemill, Special Effects Supervisor – Tyler Shymkiw, Makeup Effects Supervisor – Bill Terezakis, Production Design – Jennifer Morden. Production Company – Hyperobject Industries.


Daisy Edgar-Jones (Noa), Sebastian Stan (Steve), Jojo T. Gibbs (Mollie), Charlotte Le Bon (Ann), Dayo Okeniyi (Paul), Brett Dier (Chad), Andrea Bang (Penny)


Noa is not having much success with her Tinder dates. She then meets Steve in a supermarket who proves perfectly charming and funny. In rapid course, the two become involved. He then asks her to come on a weekend getaway with him. As they set out, he asks her first to stop by at his place – only for him to offer her a drink and drug her. Noa comes around chained up in a room. Steve then tells her how he runs an operation where he serves up human meat to exclusive customers taken from the girls he imprisons.

Fresh was a directorial debut for Mimi Craven who had previously worked mostly in music video. The film premiered at Sundance and was brought up for release on Hulu. It comes from the Hyperobject Industries production company of Adam McKay and is produced by McKay, the director of films like Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004) and Don’t Look Up (2021).

The theme of cannibalism is one that semi-regularly appears in genre cinema. There was a spate of full-on Italian-made films in the late 1970s/early 80s with the likes of Deep River Savages (1972), Cannibal Holocaust (1979) and Cannibal Ferox (1981), which are some of the most extreme films ever made, while Eli Roth later made a homage to the genre with The Green Inferno (2013). Outside of that, cannibalism has remained the province of serial killers such as Hannibal Lecter, Sweeney Todd and the Texas Chainsaw family. Elsewhere it is something that it is seen people have been forced to resort to following the collapse of civilisation. Several films have approached cannibalism in a black comedy vein with the likes of Cannibal Girls (1973), Parents (1989), Delicatessen (1991), Ravenous (1999) and Gravy (2015). There has been the occasional full-on modern film with Cannibal (2013) and Raw (2016). (For a full list of titles see Films About Cannibalism).

The film starts out in a deceptive way. Daisy Edgar-Jones’ struggles with the dating scene – as perfectly exemplified by her date with Brett Dier in the opening scenes – hit a nail with some amusement. (This is clearly a film written by someone channelling their own experiences with the online dating scene – as witness the perfectly sardonic final shot of the film). This segues into the scenes where Daisy meets and become charmed by Sebastian Stan. These scenes sparkle with a buoyant wit that do a more than effective job of selling the film to you.

Daisy Edgar-Jones and Sebastian Stan in Fresh (2022)
Noa (Daisy Edgar-Jones) and Steve (Sebastian Stan)
Daisy Edgar-Jones goes to eat human flesh in Fresh (2022)
Daisy Edgar-Jones goes to eat human flesh

It is then around the thirty minute mark where Daisy Edgar-Jones is drugged and wakes up a prisoner in Sebastian Stan’s home. It is here that the charms and wit of the earlier scenes give way to something far more sinister as we are introduced to Stan’s operation using meat taken from his prisoners to package as delicacies, reaching around $30,000 per meal we are told, to an exclusive underground network of paying customers.

These scenes show Sebastian Stan in one of his first leading roles outside of playing Bucky Barnes/The Winter Soldier in the MCU’s various Captain America and Avengers films. Here Stan establishes himself with a handsome charisma at the outset before this becomes something disturbing, all played with the same patient charm and rationality. It’s a fascinating performance that shows promising things ahead for Stan.

Lauryn Kahn’s script ably twists and turns through the scenario with a number of unexpected doglegs, especially when it comes to best friend Jojo T. Gibbs and her investigation into Daisy’s disappearance. The scenes that come towards the end of the film where Daisy joins Sebastian Stan and asks to try some of his meat and he starts to see her as an equal hold a fascinated uncertainty leaving you not quite sure which way things are going to at any point.

Trailer here

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