film reel image

film reel image

Sunday, March 13, 2022

Fresh 2022 * * * Stars


No it's not 1994 and Samuel L. Jackson is not headlining. It's present day and 2022's horror flick Fresh is what's on the table (no pun intended). Fresh is directed by a rookie in Mimi Cave (she's done mostly shorts and music videos). This is an audacious and voyeuristic debut by Cave who turns the screws of terror for at least most of the way. "Come on, give me a smile". I wish I could but I'm feeling a little queasy.

Fresh starts off sort of like a Lifetime movie with better production values. I stress the words "starts off". Then the 30-minute mark hits, the opening credits come up (they're so 70s), and you know you're no longer getting something that could be shown on network television. I mean would Lifetime feature a Hannibal Lecter type who cooks female body parts and serves them as if he were a chef at a five-star restaurant? I didn't think so either. 

The baddie in Fresh is Steve played by Sebastian Stan. Steve is one sick puppy who along with channeling is inner Hannibal the Cannibal, comes off a little like Patrick Bateman without the suits. He loves his Peter Cetera ditty-s (you'll never hear "Restless Heart" the same way again) and his tunes by Animotion (same deal for "Obsession"). Stan along with the movie he's in, seems so retro and avant-garde at the same time. Steve's torture, luxury abode is the star or should I say, the "starkiller". Natch.

So yeah, it's weird. Fresh is vulgar and upsetting but it only ventures that way until the third act. The film could've upped the ante even further if it had a little more guts (again no pun intended). The second act is the high point as it reminded me of stuff like Tusk and last year's Girl in the Basement (that's a good thing). A woman named Noa (played very effectively by Daisy Edgar-Jones) is being held against her will by Steve only to have her buttocks be surgically removed (ugh). 

Eventually Fresh turns into a another damsel in distress slasher with hints of earlier Stockholm Syndrome. Cave revels in gross, coarse imagery (which has to do with ground up body scraps and regular food), interesting camerawork (love the arc shots), and 80s/90s offcut. Fresh is recommendable even if it's almost "freshly dated". 

Written by Jesse Burleson

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