FRESH – Review by Susan Granger

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Do you like psycho-thrillers? What about horror comedies? If so, dark, devious Fresh might whet your appetite.

In Portland, Oregon, twentysomething graphic-designer Noa (Daisy Edgar-Jones) is sick of callous, cheapskate, on-line dating app disasters, so she’s a bit cynical when a charming, attractive young man, Steve (Sebastian Stan), tries to pick her up in the produce aisle of the local grocery store, urging her to sample the surprisingly delicious ‘cotton candy grapes.’

Noa’s bisexual best-friend Mollie (Jonica ‘Jojo’ T. Gibbs) immediately tries to find out more about this Steve on Google and Instagram only to discover that he’s not into social media. Is that a red flag in the 21st century? Suspicious Mollie thinks so, but Noa’s already hopped into bed with Steve and is looking forward to a surprise weekend romantic getaway.

As a successful plastic surgeon, Steve has a stunning contemporary house in the woods, so that’s where they’re going to spend the first night. At first, Noa’s dismayed that there’s no cell service in that remote region, but then Steve makes her a delicious Old Fashioned with ‘lots of cherries’ that knocks her out.

Cue the titles and cast credits which don’t appear until 33 minutes into the story.

When Noa awakens, she’s chained to a mattress on the floor. When she demands to know what’s happening, sociopathic Steve calmly explains, “I’m going to sell your meat.”

His seemingly luxurious home also serves as a queasily grotesque dungeon for other women too, each confined to her own cell. Steve periodically mutilates them, selling their most succulent parts, sending them off to an elite group of cannibalistic clients.

Scripted by Lauryn Kent, it’s helmed by music video director Mimi Cave, making her feature debut, working confidently with imaginative cinematographer Pawel Pogorzelski (Midsommar, Hereditary) who explores the film’s theme of consumption by explicit imagery of various body parts.

On the Granger Gauge of 1 to 10, aptly named Fresh is a sadistic, stomach-churning 6, streaming on Hulu.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.