The Menu Offers Fresh Perspective to Thriller Genre

Released on November 18 2022, The Menu is a satirical horror film exploring a unique culinary experience on a remote island. The movie has been generally well-received with a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 88 percent. It is rated R (restricted) for graphic and strong violence, explicit language, and sexual references. It is currently streaming on several platforms including HBO Max and Prime Video. It is a movie I very much enjoyed and is thought-provoking while still entertaining. 

Starring Anya Taylor-Joy as the protagonist Margot, the movie follows the story of the young woman as she accompanies her date, a food enthusiast, on a trip to an exclusive restaurant to taste their esteemed courses. They are ferried over to the island where the restaurant is located, along with a cast of other extremely rich guests. Once they arrive and finish a few courses, it becomes clear that there is more to the dining experience than they had signed up for. The chef, portrayed by Ralph Fiennes, conducts the meal with a very unusual menu, and the night devolves into chaos. 

Along with its eerie atmosphere and the thriller aspect of the story, the tension is also broken by moments of dry humor that remind the audience not to take the story too seriously. Although you begin with feeling sympathy for the guests who have been trapped, the story progresses in a way that forces the audience to look at everyone from a new perspective. The cultish feel of the chefs and workers on the island and the panicked feeling of the diners all assist in portraying The Menu’s clear social commentary on the corruption of excessive wealth. The divide between the working class and the entitlement of the elite battle their way out in this extreme design.  

The design of the restaurant and the environmental setting were contributors to the ominous environment that the whole island possessed. Even the attire of each character was foreshadowing and revealed some of the parts they would play in the story. From a viewer’s standpoint, the cinematography is very pretty and it keeps you alert and excited about what will happen next. 

I personally enjoyed this movie a lot. I went into it with the expectation that it would be a horror film that is going to utilize shock factors as most psychological thrillers do. I was pleasantly surprised that in addition to those things, the movie also was quite funny at times and had a unique message about the devaluation of art in exchange for status. The ending also felt very fulfilling and it was evident that the guests began to lose hope as time went on. With a compelling protagonist that defies the rules set down for her and a fresh approach to horror, I recommend this movie to all those who want a twist in this popular genre.

Image Source: IMDb

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