- Hamish Hart
The Menu (2022) Review
MARK Mylod's venture into the obscure world of restaurant horror serves up delectable performances and thrills guaranteed to cleanse even the most stubborn of palettes; even if certain plot elements felt flavourless by the film's chilling conclusion.
An exclusive group of guests set sail to a secluded island for a multi-course dinner prepared by the renowned Chef Slowik (Ralph Fiennes). However, as the night progresses, dishes are revealed that leave young couple Tyler (Nicholas Hoult) and Margot (Anya Taylor-Joy) speechless -- for better or for worse.
Food and films have many things in common, most notably that both have the ability to be more enthralling and appetising the simpler their presentation is, and The Menu naturally understands and executes this concept near perfectly. The premise of may be a bit too unbelievable for some, but at the end of the day, that's the great thing about horror movies; their concepts can as outlandish and convenient as you need it to be, especially when making it crazy improves the quality of the story.
Despite being labelled as a comedic horror, there is very little common horror tropes to be found; far from a bad thing in this case. Many of The Menu's shocking moments come from the exceptional performances given from the leading trio of Fiennes, Taylor-Joy and Hoult. Each character brings a unique element to the table, with each playing off one another beautifully to create genuinely chilling scenes carried by unforeseen revelations that don't feel out of place and overt in retrospect. Ralph Fiennes is easily the standout actor in The Menu, setting up not only the extraordinary meals for the guests, but majority of the conflicts and plot points presented in the film. His stoic demeanour and interactions with the patrons, particularly Margot, create thrilling scenes that are cemented as highlights in a film filled with them.
Mark Mylod's comedic thriller begins with an intriguing appetizer, introducing cookie-cut personalities who feel more like tropes than actual side characters before moving onto the main course with sudden twists and turns that prepare you for an ending that is far from a fluffy dessert, and while it may leave a sour taste in some viewer's mouths, the ending was a sweet palate cleanser to an overall horrifying experience that left me wanting more. But through no fault of the film itself, just don't expect the sweetness of The Menu to be as satisfying on a second session.