Mimi Cave, director of the film “Fresh,” is eager to try new things. Her debut feature is slated for release on Hulu and serves as a provocative, graphic horror that explores and satirizes the perils of modern dating for women.
“I’m trying to do stuff that’s not genre-specific. I don’t think that there’s going to be just another ‘Fresh,’ right away,” Cave said in an interview with The Daily Californian. “It’s a really special script and a really special story and a very big risk to take as a filmmaker and those things just don’t come along that often.”
“Fresh” joins the growing array of films in the social horror space that concern themselves with transforming the terrors of gender and racial discrimination into actual, cinematic horrors. However, “Fresh” does something different — it ends on a happier note, preserving the integrity of its victims and its heroes as much as possible.
“I’m approaching my next stuff sort of as if I’ve never done anything in the past, because I think that comparison is what kills creativity,” Cave said. “I’m trying to look at things with sort of a blank slate.”
Yet, Cave doesn’t necessarily believe that her film’s ending is glowingly optimistic. “I think that the moment and the beat is positive,” she notes. “I don’t want to give away spoilers, but I think that what we definitely wanted to do was return to the friendship and the relationship between the female leads and how the friendship is what helps them in the end.”
Cave points out that despite the absurdity of the script, it was important for her characters’ emotions to always be rooted in reality. “I think that the script was written with such a deep underlying message of how women experience the world,” Cave remarked.
The film also stands apart from its contemporaries with its tone and pop-visual style. For tackling such graphic and violent subject matter, the film isn’t too hard to watch. Cave’s style is reminiscent of a pop music video — the colors, the music and the inherent and undying spirit of her characters, whether they are protagonists or antagonists.
“I am only one woman and I come from my own specific background and I can’t speak to every woman’s experience,” Cave admitted. “That would be completely ridiculous of me to assume, but in a lot of ways, some of the more ridiculous nature of the story is a little bit of that thing where you have to shout to get someone to hear what you’re saying.”
The film works interestingly with its pacing, working to manipulate its audience while leaving clues about its direction. “I knew that we had to spend enough time in the beginning, setting up the characters as real characters, so that we could feel emotionally invested in where they were going and so I knew that there had to be sort of a big, a big switchover,” Cave remarks.
A large part of the life of the film comes from her two main characters, played by Daisy Edgar-Jones and Sebastian Stan. Cave talks about guiding actors and grounding them in their characters’ motivations through a process she refers to as “character mapping.”
“We track a trajectory of a character’s arc and how it aligns with the other characters in the movie,” Cave explained. “It’s the thing that we can always return to if we’re feeling a little like we’re not grounded or we don’t know what the motivation is.”
Cave’s chronicle of an audacious, thrilling story shines remarkably, her history in both music videos and dance directly evident in her distinctive, upbeat style of storytelling. “Fresh” certainly holds up to its name and establishes Mimi Cave as a director with pressing things to say and impressive ways to say them.