Hulu’s “Fresh” offers a fresh take on the rom-com and horror-thriller scene


Photo provided by: Avery Ranum

Hulu’s “Fresh”, starring Daisy Edgar Jones and Sebastian Stan, offers a devious plot in an interesting way. The Hulu original movie became available to watch on Mar. 4.

Avery Ranum, Editor-in-Chief

“I’m gonna sell your meat.” These are not the typical words one might want to hear while watching a romantic-comedy movie. Yet these are uttered to the protagonist in “Fresh,” which premiered on Hulu on Mar. 4. The trailer of the film alone deceived audiences into expecting a traditional rom-com when in reality, they were tuning in to a disturbing tale of cannibalism. “Fresh” has quickly become one of my favorites among romantic and horror movies, as it weaves both themes together to create a film I doubt I will ever be able to forget.

Although it may be hard to imagine how the elements of rom-com and horror-thriller movies could be blended, “Fresh” brilliantly achieves this. Within the first 30 minutes, Noa (Daisy Edgar-Jones) — your typical rom-com protagonist with an unfortunate dating past — is introduced alongside the signature comedic relief, her best friend Mollie (Jonica T. Gibbs). Her misery initially halts upon meeting Steve (Sebastian Stan) in a traditional “meet cute” fashion, popular among romantic-comedy movies. Steve is “different” from the guys Noa has dated before, both in how he initially treats her and in his appetite. As an enjoyer of rom-coms, I was interested in how the movie would progress even before knowing its true plot. 

After this short introduction, the audience is thrown into the horror aspect of the film as the more sinister components come to life. The scenario is disturbing, leaving the audience wondering who was sick enough to think of this in the first place. The shift in tone is sudden, yet it makes sense in how none of the romantic scenes to this point had ever felt completely genuine.

I have seen many argue that, at its heart, “Fresh” is a horror-thriller film that simply disguised itself as a rom-com to both draw in audiences and shock them. Because most of the movie depicts primarily horror components, like blood-filled scenes of Noa and others eventually killing Steve, I can see and agree that these are not traditional for a rom-com, even one with dark humor aspects.

Yet these scenes are presented within the same nearly two-hour film as scenes that do depict rom-com elements, neither genre feeling out of place at all. I think these two aspects blend perfectly when Noa and Steve are having dinner at his house for the second time. The context of the scene is inherently disturbing, as Noa is being held captive and both are indulging in cannibalism, but it manages to showcase rom-com components. During the scene, from the casual exchange about not what they were eating, but who they are eating, to Steve saying that Noa is “different” because she appears to enjoy the way human tastes, these interactions provide undertones of rom-com elements, such as the playful banter component and the “not like other girls” stereotype. On the surface, the scene is romantic but is tainted by the overarching horror of it all, making it not only unique but captivating to watch.

To me, “Fresh” is a complex film carried out perfectly. It offers great commentary on the idea of the wealthy indulging in pleasure at the great expense of others, while also depicting a female protagonist breaking from the power placed over her by a man, both ideas that were effectively communicated. I was on the edge of my seat throughout the entire film, while simultaneously admiring how fascinating the movie was to watch. I recommend to those fans of the rom-com and horror-thriller genres to definitely both check out this fresh film, just be prepared to find meat unappetizing for a few days.