‘Fresh’ Takes Cues From ‘Get Out’ To Dissect The Horrors Of Dating
Starring 'Normal People's Daisy Edgar-Jones, 'Fresh' will hit very close to home.
Grisly new horror film Fresh tackles something we’ve known for a while now: Being a straight woman can be straight-up horrifying.
The film stars Daisy Edgar-Jones of Normal People fame as Noa, a young woman living dipping into the dating pool somewhere on the West Coast of the US. The movie opens with Noa on a dinner date with Chad (Brett Dier), who talks about acid reflux and opines about women of their parents’ generation who cared more about how they looked. “Nowadays I feel like girls just wear oversized everything, like it’s a blanket,” he says. It’s a not so subtle dig at Noa’s outfit, that he glares at before declaring: “I think you would just look great in a dress.”
As the two stand outside the restaurant, Noa resists Chad’s lean in for a kiss, adding that she doesn’t think they’re a good match, to which he responds: “Good luck finding a guy, you stuck-up bitch.”
It’s a quick scene, but one that perfectly captures the way that a desire for and hatred for women so often go hand-in-hand. Sadly, once you start seeing it, it’s everywhere: from the routine degradation of women in pornography to the rise of ‘incels’, who — at their most extreme — enact violence on the women they’re attracted to.
As we’ve seen, oppressive power structures are great fodder for horror movies. On 2017, Jordan Peele kind-of-coined the term ‘social thriller’, though apparently the term had been thrown around as early as the 1970s to describe a sense of tension wrought from existing social inequities. Memorably, Peele revealed that the sense of fear he feels as a Black man passing through a white neighbourhood is what spurred his desire to make Get Out; that the sublimation of that tension allowed him to make a masterpiece.
Women are also accustomed to moving through the world with an awareness of the threat of male violence. Most of us will recognise the moment where Noa walks through a dark alleyway to get to her car, and upon feeling the presence of a guy walking closely behind her, pushes her keys between her fingers.
We also tend to go on dates with new people knowing that a few possible outcomes in our head: we might click. We might not. He might murder me.
But when Noa meets Steve (Sebastian Stan) in a grocery store, she decides to throw all caution to the wind. She gives him her number, they sleep together on the first date, and she agrees to go on a trip with him, even though he says it’s a “surprise”. Throughout their drive to this mysterious location, Noa oscillates between casual banter with her new boyfriend and unease, as she struggles to recognise the landscape around her and loses reception on her phone.
We won’t give away the ending, but suffice to say that screenwriter Lauren Kahn seems to have been so inspired by Get Out that it’s unclear if this is an original movie or some sort of gender-based homage.
Fair warning, though: this isn’t one for the easily grossed out or faint of heart. But expect to be captivated nevertheless.
Fresh is streaming now on Disney+.