A division of the Walt Disney Co. is set to release a gory cannibal movie about a doctor that dismembers and eats women. Searchlight Pictures — formerly Fox Searchlight — will distribute the indie horror movie Fresh through the Disney-owned Hulu, starting March 4.
Fresh, starring Marvel’s Captain America actor Sebastian Stan, has earned largely positive reviews since debuting virtually at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, with critics appreciating its female-centric approach to horror. The movie begins by following the dating app adventures of single young woman Noa (Daisy Edgar-Jones), who encounters a string of creeps and losers.
That all changes when she meets Steve (Sebastian Stan), a young surgeon who appears promising, until he doesn’t. Searchlight served as a producer on the movie and will distribute it worldwide.
Mimi Cave’s ‘FRESH’ starring Daisy Edgar-Jones and Sebastian Stan debuts at 93% on Rotten Tomatoes.
— Film Updates (@FilmUpdates) January 21, 2022
Fox Searchlight was among the 20th Century Fox properties acquired by Disney during its $71.3 billion mega-merger with 21st Century Fox in 2019. The prestige film label is known for releasing awards-bait movies, including recent best picture Oscar winners Nomadland and The Shape of Water.
It has also released edgy, explicit movies including the NC-17 rated Shame (2011), starring Michael Fassbender as a sex addict, and Thirteen (2003), about adolescent sexuality.
Despite being a family-friendly company, Disney hasn’t shied away from adult-oriented movies in the past. The studio came under fire in 1995 when its Miramax division released the film Priest, about a gay, sexually active Catholic priest.
The Catholic League launched a boycott against Disney to protest the studio’s decision to open the movie on Easter weekend.
Disney also got in trouble when Miramax was set to release Larry Clark’s notorious Kids (1995), which portrays sex and drug use among underage teens in New York. The movie was eventually released after Miramax created a spin-off company to circumvent Disney’s policy against NC-17 movies.
Fresh has received an R rating from the Motion Picture Association.