Review: Fresh, modern dating is a horror story

Sebastian Stan and Daisy Edgar-Jones in Fresh

Fresh is a story about the crappy dating scene and men who use women. It’s like Promising Young Woman, but carried to a horror movie extreme. Like the earlier film, Fresh comes from women. It was written by Lauryn Kahn and directed by Mimi Cave. This is a spoiler free review.

The first 30 minutes of Fresh are pure romcom. Noa (Daisy Edgar-Jones) is meeting only terrible men using her dating app. She and her best friend Mollie (Jojo T. Gibbs) lament the dating scene, although Mollie is currently dating women.

Daisy Edgar-Jones in Fresh

Noa meets Steve (Sebastian Stan) in the grocery store. He’s good looking. He’s funny. He seems like a normal guy. The chemistry is great. They have drinks. They have sex on a second date. Mollie warns Noa about red flags where Steve is concerned, but she ignores the good advice of Mollie’s gut.

On their third date Steve and Noa plan a weekend away when BAM. We find out what Steve is really about.

I’m not going to tell you what Steve was really about, because it will ruin the shock of this horror movie’s reveal. I will say that Noa finds herself in a place where she doesn’t want to be. Other women like Penny (Andrea Bang) are there, too.

Jojo T. Gibbs in Fresh

Millie realizes something has happened to Noa and begins investigating. She figures out enough about the situation to get herself caught in the same horror that Noa is trapped in.

Is Noa smart enough and strong enough to change the fate that Steve has planned for her? That’s what the final third of the movie is about. Survival, revenge, and the triumph of mistreated women gets us through to the end.

A lot of horror movies don’t do much more than give you a quick scare. This horror movie is stomach churning and sticks in your head. You can extract meaning about dating and society in general from this movie. It takes the objectification of women to the max. But for me, it comes down to the 1% of the 1% who are so greedy, so rich, and so without ethics that they will do anything and buy anything that promises a forbidden thrill. Greed is the ultimate sin of the age we live in.

Of course, those greedy bastards are always men, so burn the patriarchy might be the final thought. No exceptions for what Ann (Charlotte Le Bon), the brainwashed mother of Steve’s children, is up to. The patriarchy made her what she is.

You can see Fresh on Hulu.

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