Few movies in our Tinder-era world capture the grisly horrors of modern dating like Hulu’s Fresh, a genre-bending, part-noir comedy, part erotic thriller starring Normal People’s Daisy Edgar Jones, and Marvel’s Sebastian Stan. (You’ll note I was obligated to put “erotic” before “thriller” because Stan is, at varying points, gloriously shirtless throughout.)
Fresh, both cheekily and terrifyingly, presents an all-too-familiar tale: Say, you’re about to meet some random from a dating app for drinks for the first time; your friends ask for his Instagram, but you patiently explain he’s not on social media. “Probably a serial killer,” they respond, “lol maybe a cannibal.” Enter Stan as Steve, a plastic surgeon by day and psychotic (but entrepreneurial!) cannibal-slash-harvester of young women’s meat by night.
The film raises many questions: How can you really know the person you’re dating? Are you (literally) putting your ass on the line if you go out with a handsome stranger you met in the produce aisle? Would you be willing to cut off a part of your body in exchange for Sebastian Stan making sweet, cannibalistic love to you?
As I pondered the last question, I looked internally and found myself answering it with yet another question: What do I really need two butt cheeks for? Do I really need both? And as I was rewatching Fresh, gazing into the depths of Stan’s steely, blue eyes, mentally tracing his Winter Soldier abs, I found myself thinking... Maybe I don’t need both.
Let’s back up a bit. In Fresh, after seducing Edgar Jones’ Noa, Steve predictably locks her in a basement cell and reveals his diabolical plan to slowly harvest meat from her body. He executes plans like this often, consuming some of the meat himself while also working with his wife to sell some of it in an underground marketplace sought by billionaire cannibals. It’s implied that Stan’s character’s wife was possibly once one of his earlier victims—she has a prosthetic leg that may or may not be the result of Steve harvesting it before falling in love with and marrying her. So, it raises the idea that he might he do the same with Noa. And I’ve already wondered aloud: Would I be willing to do the same with him?
According to Fresh, cannibals are primarily interested in eating fresh meat (read: harvested while the woman is still alive) from beautiful young women. They want to see pictures of and get to know who they’re eating. Throughout the film, it eventually becomes clear that Noa is special to Steve. He seems even more bonded to her after he surgically removes—and possibly eats—her, uh, buttocks. At one point, in what can only be described as the most effortless of bedroom voices, he tells her cannibalism between intimate partners is “about giving—giving yourself over to someone, becoming one forever. That’s love.”
A very gross gift to cinema, Fresh is a gift nonetheless. I have basically zero notes save for one: They really did not have to make Stan’s Steve, a literal cannibal who hunts women for sport, that hot. Who knows who this movie might radicalize as a direct result of his hotness?! I’m almost certain many if not most audience members—myself included—were frothing at the mouth as we watched this beautiful man handcuff a woman and call her a “good girl.” In that moment, I longed to trade places with her.
On that note, I encourage you all to watch Fresh for yourself and come to your own conclusions, but here are my parting thoughts: I, for one, would sacrifice one cheek—maybe two—to know the touch of a cannibalistic Sebastian Stan. And you know what?? I think I could change him!