Fair warning: Don’t watch Fresh if you have a weak stomach. The Mimi Cave-directed thriller is a gross-out horror in all of the right ways and is a fresh (I’m sorry) take on the thriller genre. Daisy Edgar-Jones is surely a star in the making and Sebastian Stan gives a performance that is the right kind of unsettling.
Fresh is a new take on dating in this generation and all of us hopeless romantics. When we first meet her, Noa (Daisy Edgar-Jones) is stuck in a Tinder cold streak of guys who talk about hot sauce, wear ascots (big red flag), and passive-aggressively mock her apparel. Now, I’ve worked in a grocery store in the past, and no one, and I mean no one, has ever fallen in love in the produce section (I’m not jealous, you are!). But alas, that is exactly what happens to Noa when she meets Steve (Sebastian Stan), a man with all of the right swagger and hints of awkwardness and the body of a cologne model. They talk about cotton candy grapes, which I thought were a myth when I worked in a grocery store, and next thing you know, they’re going on a romantic trip.
Now, all suspension of disbelief must be in play when watching Fresh, as a lot of the logistics don’t make a ton of sense. For example, Steve doesn’t have any social media and is very ominous. It’s fair that some people don’t have social media in this digital age, but at the same point, you’re trying to sell the audience on the fact that a hotshot like Sebastian Stan doesn’t have a single traceable thing on the internet? And at the end, I won’t name who, but a few people survive an event and gather their phones. Fresh never explicitly says how much time has passed, but it has to have been a few days at the bare minimum and I don’t think it would take an Apple store employee to tell you that your phones would be dead. And before you counter that with “The phones were charged!” just bear in mind that the phones were locked in a secret place and you see them sitting on a shelf sans any charger. Hell, even Steve’s house shouts red flags. It’s out in the middle of nowhere, there’s “no signal,” which is always bullshit in these films, and the interior looks like a cross between the house in Ex Machina and Christian Grey’s lair.
With that said, the usage of technology does have some high points. When Mollie, who is a more useful version of Lil Rel Howery’s character in Get Out, is attempting to search for her friend after suspecting foul play, she uses a reverse image search to realize a photo sent to her was a stock photo from a website. It’s not necessarily a mind-blowing idea, but it was a creative usage of an underrated internet tool.
But back to the actual film, Daisy Edgar-Jones gives a great and star-making performance. She has a certain earnest demeanor in her performance that rings back to Renate Reinsve in The Worst Person in the World. Paired opposite of her is Sebastian Stan, who will restore far more of your faith in him after The 355 (in the unlikely event that you even bothered watching it). Stan turns the dial from a totally normal dude that you’d see in your local grocery store to an unhinged whackjob. It’s these two performances that really make the film something unique. Speaking of unique, director Mimi Cave does a fine job with some stylistic choices, including some GoPro shots.
The gross-out element of Fresh comes in Steve’s weird “hobby.” It’s not the gore or anything like that, rather, Fresh will make you question ordering foods the next time you’re eating out. Now in fairness, the promotional poster for the film did say that the film is not for everyone, and that couldn’t be more true. One particular shot of a meatball with the cheese still melting on it was just disgusting, and the other shots of meat were even worse. Fresh is certainly not for those with a weak stomach, and if you’re that curious as to what the secretive plot is, there’s a song in the film that I believe says “Arm and hammer,” though it easily could have been the name of a certain actor but I’ll let you take that how you will.
Aside from the nitpicks, Fresh is a solid thriller; something that is rare nowadays. It pulls a Drive My Car and doesn’t flash a title card until 30 minutes in, but this is also where the change of tone kicks in. Fresh begins as a story about a hopeless romantic (Noa) and how she meets the guy she thinks is different (Steve). It’s clear that there is more going on than what meets the eye, but the title card signifies a vast change in tone as the film becomes a kidnapping thriller. And while Fresh certainly takes a new angle, or cut of meat, to the kidnapping story, it did become a bit bland and predictable, holding it back from being a four-star film. The second half of the film felt like Get Out in some ways, with Noa’s friend set up to save the day. The biggest issue is that if you’ve seen Get Out or really any kidnapping movie, you’ll know where that story goes.
Fresh will remind you that “There’s more Hope left” for the thriller genre as Steve says in the last act (and yes, there’s a reason that Hope is capitalized). It’s a unique thriller that takes its time to establish the story. Daisy Edgar-Jones stands out and it’s always great to see Sebastian Stan outside of the MCU, his unhinged outbursts are terrifying. The second half of the film is a bit long and doesn’t maintain the momentum that the first act had — though it also doesn’t have the mystique that the first act did — but that’s not enough to hold Fresh back from being a damn good thriller that you should watch if you’ve got Hulu, and, “certified fresh” (ba-dum ching).
Fresh will be available to stream on Hulu on March 4.
Easy To Survive Five Nights At Freddy’s
Cast: Josh Hutcherson, Elizabeth Lail, Kat Conner Sterling, Piper Rubio, Mary Stuart Masterson and Matthew Lillard
Directed by: Emma Tammi
Written by: Scott Cawthon, Emma Tammi and Seth Cuddeback
Based on the video game series by: Scott Cawthon
Produced by: Jason Blum and Scott Cawthon
Executive Producers: Bea Sequeira, Russell Binder, Marc Mostman and Christopher H. Warner
Chica and Mr Cupcake from Five Nights at Freddy’s (Universal Pictures)
Recently fired and desperate for work so that he can keep custody of Abby, Mike agrees to take a position as a night security guard at an abandoned theme restaurant: Freddy Fazbear’s Pizzeria. But Mike soon discovers that nothing at Freddy’s is what it seems. With the aid of Vanessa, a local police officer, Mike’s nights at Freddy’s will lead him into unexplainable encounters with the supernatural and drag him into the black heart of an unspeakable nightmare.
Movie Review (No Spoilers)
The movie takes its inspiration from the Five Nights At Freddy’s videogame series and the franchise of the same name. The franchise currently consists of a total of 20 video games (10 main games, 6 spin-offs, and 4 troll games), a total of 48 books (3 novel books, 21 anthology books, 8 graphic novels, 5 guidebooks, 3 coloring books, and 8 other books), as well as a horror attraction, Snapchat lenses, this movie, and an ongoing batch of merchandise.
We see Josh Hutcherson and Elizabeth Lail’s play the part of Mike Schmidt and Officer Vanessa Shelly respectively. They played their parts well and their performance definitely contributes to the dramatic effects within the movie. The story was nicely adapted from the narrative in the video games. Being familiar with the video games I expected Five Nights at Freddy’s to be filled to the brim with jump scares. Sadly, the jump scares were quite infrequent and there is definitely a lack of gory scenes, leaving you with the feeling that the animatronics might not be that scary at all. The animatronics were well designed.
The movie successfully delivers a plot twist at the end. The story ends in such a way that you can expect a sequel and I hope that if we get to experience another night at Freddy’s that we get to experience an even greater scare.
I rate this movie a 3 out of 5 based on expectations. As a fan of the game series you will definitely enjoy this because this movie takes a lot of the Five Nights At Freddy’s lore into account with a few variations.
I personally feel the trailer delivers a bit of a scare, however it reveals a little bit too much information about the story. There is a mid-credits scene and a potential secret audio message at the end of the credits. Feel free to stick around.
The Exorcist: Believer Review
The Exorcist Films
The Exorcist (1973)
Regan, a young girl, displays bizarre behaviour after playing with an Ouija board. Chris, her mother and an actress, consults two priests who conclude that Regan is possessed by a demonic entity.
Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977)
A priest is tasked with probing the death of another priest who died while exorcising a girl four years ago. However, the latter does not remember the incident and is under the care of a psychiatrist.
The Exorcist III (1990)
Lieutenant Kinderman sets out to investigate a series of brutal murders with the trademark of a serial killer, The Gemini. However, he uncovers disturbing facts which leave him troubled.
Exorcist: The Beginning (2004)
While doing missionary work in Africa, Father Lankester Merrin comes across a boy who is behaving strangely. Further investigation reveals that he is possessed by an ancient demon.
Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist (2005)
Father Lankester Merrin has his first encounter with a demon when a church is excavated from beneath the sand. Soon, he discovers several signs of devil worship inside the church.
The Exorcist: Believer
When his daughter, Angela, and her friend Katherine, show signs of demonic possession, it unleashes a chain of events that forces single father Victor Fielding to confront the nadir of evil. Terrified and desperate, he seeks out Chris MacNeil, the only person alive who’s witnessed anything like it before.
Movie Review (No Spoilers)
The movie doesn’t rush too quickly into the dramatic aspects of the film. It really provides a different feel to that of the predecessors. Olivia O’Neil and Lidya Jewett really brought their A-game and I really appreciated their performance. As always, the possessed voices are always done excellently. There is a treat for longstanding fans of the Exorcist movies with the return of Ellen Burstyn who returns as Chris MacNeil, which was teased in the movie trailer as well. The soundtrack along with the use of strategically placed jump scares contributed to the overall scare, however, most of the massive scares are closer to the end of the movie. I recommend watching the other Exorcist-related movies to really have the background. A lot of effort was done in the make-up, special effects and with the religious elements that have been factored into the movie.
Just a word of caution though, this movie is not for the faint-hearted and sensitive viewers.
There is no post-credits scene at the end, so no need to wait till the end. The official trailer I feel gives away a lot of the movie in terms of some of the plots, so watch perhaps the movie before watching the trailer. I rate this movie a 3.5 out of 5. Really looking forward to future projects in the Exorcist film series but I really hope they can deliver a scary surprise in a future sequel.
Catch it at a cinema near you!
Night Swim | Official Trailer — In Theaters January 5th, 2024
Release Date: 5 January 2024
Director: Bryce McGuire
Writer: Bryce McGuire
Based on: Night Swim, short film by Rod Blackhurst and Bryce McGuire
Distributed by: Universal Pictures
Production Companies: Atomic Monster and Blumhouse Productions
Cast: Wyatt Russell, Kerry Condon, Amélie Hoeferle & Gavin Warren
Night Swim Movie Poster (Universal Pictures)
No running. No diving. No lifeguard on duty. No swimming after dark.
Ray Waller, a former major league baseball player forced into early retirement by a degenerative illness, moves into a new home with his concerned wife Eve, teenage daughter Izzy and young son Elliot. Secretly hoping, against the odds, to return to pro ball, Ray persuades Eve that the new home’s shimmering backyard swimming pool will be fun for the kids and provide physical therapy for him. But a dark secret in the home’s past will unleash a malevolent force that will drag the family under, into the depths of inescapable terror.
Catch the trailer online now!
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