Fresh (2022) Directed by Mimi Cave
Noisy in contemporary paradoxes and unbalanced in humor and horror. Fresh with its satirical vision of online dating dynamics paralleling the conventional forms of the past has ideas that are well grounded and accessible to the versatile modalities that horror cinema can give you, yet they are undecided contrasts, without exact leanings and tonal specifications that in their ”didactic” depth remain obtuse. The filmic debut of neophyte Mimi Cave is as close to being a genuine film as it is to being a recycled and futile product; the generational perception of the parenthetical themes are held on an attractive yet very safe and linear surface to sustain the unbridled anthropophagic feast of the following acts. Like a film that does not mitigate its consequences, the bizarre narrative descends into a helpless cycle of incompatibility between appetizing horror and histrionic comedy.
The desperate and naive Noa, played with exaggerated innocence by Daisy Edgar-Jones, lives in a romantic void, and determined to fill that love abyss, she opts to spend time online dating, however without any fruitful results. On a routine day at the supermarket, she crosses paths with a pleasant stranger, the overly nosy Steve, played with chameleonic audacity by Sebastian Stan, that serendipitous encounter in counterpoint to online dating, turns out to be love at first sight for Noa.
This sardonic, deceptively curious plot from its initial cynical romantic comedy infatuation operates with an engrossing, ominous, and captious atmosphere, but when the idyllic romance takes off its mask and we see its monstrous reality, the tenebrous magic quickly evaporates, and the narrative becomes locked in a morass of exploitation film clichés and idioms that never evoke the menacing stealthiness of the first act. Unruly, plastic and predictable, momentarily provocative but too gratuitous for my taste. The parallels between the stark differences of online dating and fortuitous dating are its greatest delight and daring discourse, albeit an ephemeral pleasure. Fresh only manages to regurgitate its ideas but never digests its tasty cannibalism.