The Menu Review

The Menu Review

Samantha Grabb, Staff Writer

Have you eaten a cheeseburger recently? Anya Taylor Joy has.


In The Menu, a psychological thriller directed by Mark Mylod, tenured stars join to depict an evening filled with food, terror, and elitism. The movie follows skeptical Margot Mills (played artfully by Anya Taylor Joy) as she accompanies Tyler (played by Nicholas Hoult), a well-off foodie to an exclusive dinner cooked by the legendary Chef Slowik. Also present are three pretentious stock brokers, the food critic who discovered Chef Slowik and her parrot of a companion, a movie star and his (assistant? girlfriend?) and an older couple. Creepily portrayed by Ralph Fiennes, who if we’re being honest is always a little creepy, Chef Slowik serves them gourmet bite after decomposed dish. Yet as Tyler is starstruck by the Chef and his dishes, Margot is unimpressed. 


The atmosphere of the night completely changes when one of the cooks in the kitchen presents his dish to the twelve guests. Titled “The Mess,” Jeremy’s dish, his contribution to the evening, is his suicide. His death marks the beginning of the horror of the night, as the guests slowly come to understand why each of them are truly there.


This movie was, simply put, fantastic. From the reveal that Margot is not there for the same reasons the others are to the gradual realization of the conflict between servers and those who expect to be served, I was enraptured with the twists and turns of the film. Although there were few different sets and the story takes place over the course of only a few hours, the story was rich and attention gripping. 


Foreshadowing was also a star for this film. Every twist during the second act of the film paid off that much more because of one small detail or comment included previously. It added beautifully to the theme of The Menu, as we the audience gradually understood the truth at the same pace as Margot. No reveal was cheap or used just for shock value. Even though there were some theatrics in the chaos of the night, the drama felt fitting, almost as though it was earned. 


Additionally, the acting was phenomenal. Anya Taylor Joy brought life to Margot Mills, perfectly encapsulating her strength and wit, as well as her well-deserved moment of rage. Unlike many a horror-movie protagonist, I never found myself face-palming a decision she made. She was written and acted in such a way that the audience never paused in rooting for her. Another standout was Nicholas Hoult as Tyler. Unbearable as the character was, it’s undeniable that Hoult knocked it out of the park. His quick turn from nervous embarrassment to full-blown rage as Margot rebelled against Chef Slowik was masterful. Even the side characters, who were somewhat caricatured, were perfectly played by their actors. 


The Menu, while a wonderful film, is not for the faint of heart. However, if you can handle a bit of gore and a lot of creepy staring, this is a necessary watch. It might take you a while before you can go out to a restaurant after, though.


Image source: IMDb