When it comes to my favorite horror or thriller movies, I have always had a soft spot for the ones that hit close to him–especially when those films try to weave in themes that one would not expect in the horror genre. And one such film that I recently watched and absolutely devoured is The Menu, a mindblowing horror movie that starts out as a brilliant satire but quickly morphs into a disturbingly sinister thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat.
The Menu Movie Review: A Slow-Building Thriller That Will Keep You On Your Toes
Without any spoilers, let me share the premise of The Menu movie: a group of ridiculously wealthy and self-important people are invited for a private dining experience on the island of the world-renowned Chef Slowik, who serves them dishes that are as extravagantly pretentious as the guests invited to taste them.
Among the 10 guests invited, only doesn’t quite fit the bill: Margot (played by Anna Taylor Joy), who is only accompanying her “boyfriend” Tyler, who happens to be a huge fan of Chef Slowik and practically foams at the mouth whenever his name is even mentioned. The rest of the group are no better–obscenely wealthy, they are all equally awful and entitled to different degrees.
But this time, when they all travel to the private island, they are not going to forget the dining experience Chef Slowik has planned for them, nor will they be able to escape.
Now that you know the premise, let’s dive into The Menu movie review below.
A Brilliant Satire And A Riveting Performance From The Entire The Menu Cast
Undoubtedly the best thing about The Menu movie is the way it cleverly blends horror and comedy, at least during the first quarter of the film. It is a sharp, stinging satire that calls out the elite class on their careless attitude towards the simple joys of life.
Every course is served with a very long monologue from the Chef, one that honestly overexaggerates the meal, and only serves to make the guests feel more entitled as opposed to humbled that they are getting the chance to enjoy such extravagant dishes.
What I loved about this movie is how it portrays all the different types of wealthy and privileged people: you have snobby food critics who overanalyze the food with big words (instead of you know, just enjoying it I suppose?), you have bratty executives who act like they deserve the best of everything and shows very little respect to the ones bringing them food on the table; you have crazed fanatics like Tyler, a washed-up action hero who is more interested in using the dining experience to kickstart his gastronomical reality TV instead of being passionate about it, and you have a wealthy couple who turn out to be regular guests for this exclusive event and yet they cannot name a single dish they’ve had before (because they never had any appreciation for the honor being given to them).
In short, the characters tick off all the checkboxes of the worst of the elite class and are exaggerated just enough to make you cringe while still being hilariously realistic at the same time.
And needlessly to say, the performance of the entire The Menu cast is what keeps your eyes glued to the screen–each and every actor played their role flawlessly. It’s very rare to see such a perfect and believable performance from a whole ensemble, and a special nod must go to Nicholas Hoult, who nailed the role of a crazy food fanatic like Tyler.
A Perfectly Balanced Serving Of Comedy And Horror
The first act of the film is more comedy and satire than actual horror, but it doesn’t take long for The Menu movie to shift to a more sinister atmosphere. It starts with the serving of tortillas, each containing a dark, unpleasant secret of all the guests. The tension builds up gradually, and it doesn’t take long for the diners to catch on that they are not quite safe.
The military, almost mechanical movements of the kitchen staff doesn’t help either–what once seemed odd quickly becomes evidently disturbing, and as the movie progresses, the diners begin to spiral as well as they realize they might just have to fight to stay alive and escape the island.
The Cinematography And Aesthetics Were Unforgettable
The aesthetics and cinematography of The Menu movie is just otherworldly. Just as the fine dining on the private island was an exclusive experience for the invited guests, the camera direction, soundtrack and overall aesthetics of The Menu movie also created an incredibly immersive and artistic experience for the viewers as well.
From the way the dishes were being plated and served to the way the kitchen staff chopped, sizzled, rolled and fried food in the kitchen–every scene had just the right amount of dramatic flair while the accompanying soundtrack set the mood.
The Social Commentary Was Just Slightly Undercooked
The only criticism I have of The Menu movie is that it might have been a little too ambitious. I loved that this satire/horror had a lot of social commentary–from exploring themes of grief, and suicidal thoughts to commentary on the entitlement of the privileged, there were a lot of themes that the movie tried to explore.
But the problem is that when you try to fit so many different themes into 1 hour and 45-minute long film, some of the social commentaries is going to be left slightly undercooked and just a little less explored.
All things considered, The Menu has to be one of the best satirical horrors I have ever seen, and I would strongly recommend it to anybody who enjoys films that make you feel thoroughly uncomfortable and entertained at the same time.