Fresh is a horror-comedy directed by Mimi Cave and written by Lauryn Kahn. The Hulu movie stars Daisy Edgar-Jones, Sebastian Stan, and Jojo T. Gibbs. Fresh is a cautionary tale about what can happen when you meet a seemingly perfect guy, only for him to be not-so-perfect at all. Fresh bends genres, taking on styles of some of the best horror films, psychological thrillers, horror-comedies, and even some of the best romantic movies. The result is a fresh take on the horrors of modern dating, especially for women. Everything in the film builds towards a bloody Fresh ending.
Daisy Edgar-Jones and Sebastian Stan give two really stand-out performances in Fresh. This won’t be a Sebastian Stan performance that you forget anytime soon. There is so much to unpack with the Fresh ending, the film’s themes, and just everything it has to say about modern dating, so let’s dig into the Fresh ending.
Warning: This post contains Fresh spoilers. Proceed with caution.
What Happened At The End Of Fresh
After Noa shows her supposed interest in what Steve has been up to, Steve (Sebastian Stan) takes Noa (Daisy Edgar-Jones) on a date in his house of horrors. The date goes fairly well and Steve believes he’s found an equal. They move the date to the bedroom. As the two are getting intimate, Noa takes the opportunity to taste some more flesh by chomping down on his penis. While Steve is bleeding and screaming, she then uses some toothpaste that she grabbed from the bathroom to also (temporarily) take out his eyes.
Noa then runs to free Mollie (Jojo T. Gibbs) and Penny (Andrea Bang). The three women then find themselves being chased by Steve. It turns into an all out brawl, with the women working together to take this man down. Eventually, they finally get the upper hand and Noa shoots him right in the head.
While all this is happening, Ann (Charlotte Le Bon) arrives with a man who works for Steve and her. She hears Steve’s death and then sees his body. Noa, Penny, and Mollie realize that Mollie’s phone isn’t working and Noa left her phone. Noa heads back to look for her phone. The moment she finds her phone, Ann shows up and strangles Noa. However, Mollie makes it in time to help save Noa. Mollie kills Ann. Fresh ends on Mollie and Noa exchanging I love yous.
The Power Play Between Steve And Noa
One of the major constants of Fresh is the shifting power dynamic between Steve and Noa. It starts with Noa having the power because she could end her interaction with Steve by completely ignoring or rejecting him in the grocery store--but even that interaction could turn into a dark moment with Steve still abducting her, so Noa could have been powerless from the start. Then Steve maintains the power from their brief courtship to when he kidnaps her.
Noa only begins to gain power when she pretends to be the cannibal of Steve’s dreams. She uses this power to ultimately disarm him, which allows her to save her friends and herself. The whole physical fight between Steve and the women has a constant power shift, with sometimes him overpowering them, and then them overpowering him.
It eventually leads to Noa taking the ultimate power by telling Steve to smile before killing him. This is a callback to when Steve asked her to smile, and a reference to when women are told to smile by certain men. It’s a total boss move for her to objectify him in that way before killing him.
In an interview with Deadline, Mimi Cave calls Fresh “a sort of strange coming of age movie,” and this label makes sense because Noa grows up and starts to understand her power because of this experience. Penny lets Noa know that Steve has not slept with any of the other women since she’s been captured. This allows Noa to realize that she has some power in this relationship with Steve. Because he is attracted to her, she can use that to her advantage.
Noa, Penny, and Mollie will come out of this experience extremely scarred, but they’ll also know how powerful they are, especially together, because they took down this monster.
How True Love Wins At The End Of Fresh
There is a scene in Fresh where Steve and Noa make fun of people who believe in true love. Despite this scene, I think the film argues that true love exists, but it doesn’t have to be in the form of a romantic relationship. It could be a passion for something, a career, a child, a parent, or a friend. The true love story of Fresh is between Mollie and Noa. Their love for each other is what keeps them both alive.
Mollie risks her life to find Noa. Noa then does the same by saving Penny, Mollie, and herself. We also witness another sort-of love story occur with the development of Penny and Noa’s friendship. It’s their friendship that keeps them sane and helps inspire Noa to trick Steve to save them. In many ways, Fresh is a love letter to female friendship and empowerment.
It’s these women’s friendship and love for each other that help them all survive. Additionally, Fresh could have had the film end with Paul (Dayo Okeniyi) saving them or helping them get out, but it doesn’t because the film is about these women saving themselves and each other. The most powerful love story for them is with one another.
Ann’s Purpose in the Film
On the other side of the coin, we have Ann. It’s heavily implied that Ann at one point was a victim of Steve, but similar to Noa, she turned the tables and won him over. However, unlike Noa, she chose to go from victim to victimizer or villain. Even at the end, when Steve is dead, she could let the women go, but she tries to kill Noa.
Ann represents those women who don’t look out for other women. Women who would rather help a predator than help a victim. In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, Lauryn Kahn discussed who or what Ann represented in her screenplay.
Ann is kind of an afterthought as a villain because the audience almost forgets her until she makes an appearance during the Fresh ending. In my opinion, that makes Ann even scarier than Steve. Ann, as a woman and possibly one of Steve’s victims, should be an ally, but instead, she actively works against them. She’s a different kind of monster than Steve, but still a monster. She’s one who helps ensure that the victims stay powerless.
What Does Fresh Say About Modern Dating?
I believe that the main goal of Fresh is to highlight some of the horrors women face in the dating world, like fear of being attacked or harmed. Penny, Noa, Mollie, and possibly even Ann, are all very different women, but all become victims to Steve. This fact highlights that abusers don’t discriminate against their prey. Fresh also talks about how all-consuming toxic relationships can become for those in them. Someone giving too much of themselves to another person can sometimes make people feel like they have nothing left. They’ve been completely devoured by their current or former partner.
I also believe that Fresh is saying that a woman’s end goal doesn’t have to involve love and romance to feel satisfied, full, and complete. Fresh shows that women can be powerful beyond their romantic attachments. It also doesn’t judge those who pick the marriage and partner path but wants to show that the fairytale happy ending doesn’t necessarily mean a husband. It could just mean fighting for your freedom with your fellow metaphorical sisters, or actual sisters.
The Fresh trailer didn’t prepare me nearly enough for the cannibal twist. Once I got over the shock of it, I really enjoyed the film, especially the performances. Sebastian Stan gives one of his best performances as Steve, this really dark character. Fresh is a horror/thriller movie that manages to walk a really fine line between too much and not enough, which makes it such an interesting watch.
If you want to hear more of what Mimi Cave has to say about Fresh, make sure to check out CinemaBlend’s exclusive interview on the ReelBlend podcast.
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Spent most of my life in various parts of Illinois, including attending college in Evanston. I have been a life long lover of pop culture, especially television, turned that passion into writing about all things entertainment related. When I'm not writing about pop culture, I can be found channeling Gordon Ramsay by kicking people out the kitchen.