Day Twenty-Two: The Menu (2022) (March of the Movies 2023)

She really is superb at that pouty, standoffish stare, isn’t she? One of those rising stars that have taken filmgoers by the heart, Anya Taylor-Joy is certainly a name that piques my interest in upcoming pictures. Then you include a varied cast of names like Ralph Fiennes, Nicholas Hoult, Hong Chau (who was terrific in The Whale), and John Leguizamo? Goodness, this is one flexible meal. I just hope The Menu lives up to its starpower.

The film’s synopsis, coming soon, leaves a lot to be interpreted. Its trailer, alternatively, kind of spoils the entire course. Would not recommend watching the trailer (which I will provide anyway; SEO score and all that). Luckily, I never saw a trailer for this, so this was a relatively blind viewing. My assumption was that the chef would feed them human meat or something.

Copy-Paste Synopsis

“A couple travels to a coastal island to eat at an exclusive restaurant where the chef has prepared a lavish menu, with some shocking surprises.”


Actual Review

Chef Fiennes does not feed them human meat. He does, however, provide a variety of different shocking, devious events that will make the night unforgettable for every guest. It really was wise of me to go into this blind.

So, this is kind of a horror film, I suppose. Not a Scream or Halloween type of horror, nor a Chucky or Gremlins kind of horror. More of a… suspenseful ticking time bomb horror type. Bloodshed escalates as the night carries on, even though the seeds of doubt were planted from the beginning. What surprised me was how open everything was. Indeed, it will be a very horrifying night, and Mr. Chef makes that apparent fairly early on.

Happy birthday!

I’m struggling to think of a comparison similar to this set-up, but names escape me. Saw, maybe? Only the traps aren’t as material as they are metaphorical. Every meal is one step closer to a grand finale, progressively more demented in the way apathetic, hollow individuals are. Customers are “trapped” in a situation they try desperately to fight out of. A single ringleader, whose methods seem to be strangely cohesive, oversees everything.

The Menu is trying to say something, though! Something about… well, people are assholes and the rich are criminals and art should be sacred and… it’s kind of messy. Plenty of swings are attempted, only with plenty of strikes, as well.

Likely my biggest gripe with the film is its cast of characters. Too cartoonishly over the top, methinks. Nicholas Hoult’s character dominates in a category much to the story’s detriment. He’s too much; too obsessive, too oblivious, too self-indulged. Not to knock Hoult’s acting ability, but he was borderline insufferable here. From the opening shots alone one can tell that he’s fodder for the film’s underlying intentions, without a hint of humanity—a puppet.

Shown: not a puppet

Taylor-Joy is one of few characters who come across as an actual person. Unfortunately, many others who have that potential are largely ignored for the sake of “the menu.” Much like Fiennes’s obsessive behavior, the writing seems solely focused on keeping the pace without interruption. This is something to watch solely for shock factor and character performances.

And it works! Despite how illogical much of the scenario is, I had a pretty good time of this. Most of the cast, particularly ones who got to be human, were fairly convincing and engrossing. Immersion was never really shot—I sat through this without many glances at the clock. Tension was palpable particularly near the end, even when it got borderline silly. Certainly memorable above all.

The face of an angel.

I don’t know, maybe I just like films where everything is a mess despite trying to appear professional.


Not an Oscar winner by any means, The Menu stills enjoys a good quantity of content delectable to the tongue. Actors perform at a high level, the suspense works so long as no trailer is viewed, and the writing is so bizarre at times that it can come across as a delightful comedy. This whole thing is bizarre. I’m bizarre. Really wish Hoult’s character wasn’t a clown.

Final Score: 7/10

The rating for all other films can be found at Letterboxd.

For more, check out the March of the Movies Archive!

If reading this compelled you to give me a dollar, feel free to tip me on Ko-fi.

Thank you for your time. Have a great rest of your day.

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