Not enough to chew on

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It is easy to be disillusioned by the tedious process of modern dating, and for the young Noa, she can’t help but feel a little lost when navigating these treacherous waters. However, this all changes when she finally takes a chance on the awkwardly charming Steve after a little meet-cute at the produce section of a grocery store. But as everything starts to feel too good to be true, we start to wonder whether Noa may have gone a little too in over her head.  In her directorial debut, Mimi Cave brings to life Fresh, a horror-comedy movie that despite its straightforward plot was a fairly enjoyable experience.

As with most horror movies, the plot of this film was really not its strong suit. While it had a pretty good opening, setting up the narrative and slowly but surely dipping our toes into its own insanity, it lost this momentum and quickly realigned itself with the usual tropes of a horror movie. There was nothing particularly engaging about this movie from the moment the main ‘meat’stery about Steve was revealed as it’s a scenario that we have seen time and time again.

It also didn’t help that the main character wasn’t someone I particularly cared about either, so it wouldn’t have really made a difference if anything had happened to her anyway. She was just not somebody that was given much of a fleshed out personality. Neither were most of the characters in this movie actually.

The main appeal of this movie ended up being more of its craft elements, as it had a really great aesthetic. The atmosphere that was built up added a lot of suspense and tension and made you feel quite nervous and scared for a good amount of time. This was done with a combination of the cinematography that really honed in on giving us some spookily lit shots and the production design that had some of the most intimidating set design I’ve seen.

The paintings in particular were incredibly imposing and powerful. They felt larger than life, as if, if you were to step too close, it would suck you in and never let you go. The architecture of the house and how it was shown on screen also felt very isolating and cold, really giving you the impression that there is no escape.

This was also supplemented by the soundtrack that was quite subtle but added just the right tones to the movie to incite your pulse. The special effects were also quite impressive with a good amount of gore and blood, which, in conjunction with some pretty satisfying squelches and spurts from the sound department, did offer a good climactic ending in terms of what you would expect from a horror movie.

And that right there is the biggest issue; there really wasn’t much that you wouldn’t be able to predict from this film. It was all something that you would expect to happen. Particularly towards the end of the film, the characters started making very nonsensical choices that only served to drive the plot forward. So while you can certainly have fun with this rather silly movie, as it doesn’t take itself too seriously, it’s probably not something that is gonna stay in your head for too long.

The obvious comparison to this movie would be Julia Ducournau’s Raw from 2016, and that was a much more full-bodied piece of work, as it had a much more engaging plot and had characters that were more developed. With the characters they were given in the Fresh script, you can’t really have performances that are going to be anything to write home about. But with what they had, the actors did a good job.

This movie was a fairly enjoyable watch if you want to turn your brain off for two hours and watch some blood get thrown around or marvel at an incredibly stylish house with some intimidating art. I probably wouldn’t watch this movie again, but it was a well made film with a nice simple plot that anyone can likely relish.

By Sadira Sittampalam