Disney To Release Cannibal Drama 'Fresh' On Hulu In March

Walt Disney Co. DIS is going into very different territory with its new Searchlight Pictures release “Fresh,” a romantic drama with a cannibal plotline.

What Happened: “Fresh” focuses on Noa (Daisy Edgar-Jones), a young woman who has grown exasperated with her bad luck in the dating scene. She believes her romantic fortunes have reversed when she meets and falls in love with Steve (Sebastian Stan), a plastic surgeon, but Noa soon discovers that Steve is also a cannibal who devours human flesh and sells body parts of his victims to other flesh eaters.

Directed by Mimi Cave, a music video veteran making her feature film debut, from a screenplay by Lauryn Kahn, “Fresh” was co-produced by Adam McKay under his Hyperobject Industries operations, with Legendary Pictures co-producing. Disney’s Searchlight unit acquired the film, which had its premiere screening on Jan. 20 at the Sundance Film Festival, which is being held virtually following the spike in omicron variant cases.

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What Happens Next: Disney will not be putting the R-rated film into theatrical release, but instead will offer it as a Hulu streaming title in the U.S. and a Star+ streaming title overseas beginning March 4.

Critical reaction from the Sundance presentation has been mixed. The Hollywood Reporter’s Angie Han believed the first half of the film “plays more or less like a rom-com” but complained about the ending by insisting, “None of it is subtle, and not all of it makes much sense.”

William Bibbiani, reviewing “Fresh” for TheWrap.com, observed that the production “raises quite a few questions it never bothers to answer, unless of course a sequel is in the cards.”

However, Chris Bumbray of JoBlo.com dubbed the film “the first breakout hit of this year’s Sundance Film Festival” and lamented its straight-to-streaming fate.

“The reaction to the film has been good enough though that you almost wish Disney/Searchlight would bite the bullet and give this a theatrical release as if we’ve seen any genre play well over the pandemic, it’s been horror,” he wrote.

Photo: Daisy Edgar-Jones in "Fresh," via Disney / Searchlight Pictures.

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Posted In: NewsMediacannibaldisneyfreshMimi CaveSearchlight PicturesSundance Film Festival
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