VARIETY:The cast and creatives behind “Fresh,” a rom-com-turned-thriller that debuted at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, unpacked the need for horror (and a touch of humor) when tackling today’s realities of dating and the continued commodification of women.

“There’s a lot of tropes in this film that are there for a reason – and hopefully we’re challenging them. We’re twisting them in a different way,” director Mimi Cave told senior entertainment writer Angelique Jackson in Variety’s Virtual Sundance Studio presented by Audible.

“[There’s a] subconscious way women operate in the world that men don’t know about,” added the film’s writer, Lauryn Kahn.

In “Fresh,” a young woman named Noa (Daisy Edgar-Jones) meets Steve (Sebastian Stan), and the two start seeing each other romantically. However, Noa soon learns that her new partner has some concerning dietary tendencies — diving the film into the literal meaning of “meat market.”

“[‘Fresh’] was very complex and sort of surprising. [It] kind of pulls the rug from underneath your feet,” said Stan. “As actors, it’s a nice challenge.”

“[The film] is sort of exposing this level of fear of threats that we do live with without ever discussing or interrogating,” added Edgar-Jones. “What’s so wonderful is being able to explore that whilst also creating something that is really entertaining. There is a lot of dark humor throughout this script, and I love that.”

Jojo T. Gibbs, who portrays Noa’s best friend in the movie, also noted the importance of seeing platonic relationships in the film’s landscape — as well as the joys of working together as a cast on the project.

“When I did the chemistry read with Daisy, I was like, ‘Oh yeah, she’s amazing.’ We clicked from the jump, and the bond just was very fluid. And I think it spilled over onto the screen very well,” said Gibbs.

Hear more from the conversation with Kahn, Cave, Edgar-Jones, Stan, Gibbs and Dayo Okeniyi in the video above.

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