What’s on The Menu?

What’s on The Menu?

Photo Credit: Disney+

A review of consumerism, taken literally

Ben Hohener, Contributor

Back in November 2022, I stumbled upon a trailer for a new horror/comedy called The Menu. It looked quite interesting, seemingly a blend of high-end restaurant culture and horror elements, much like 2020’s Caveat. A bunch of rich people visit a private island to taste exquisite dishes prepared by one of the world’s most renowned chefs, known for his theatrics and a sort of stage play to accompany each meal. I was intrigued, but busy enough in my life to not make seeing it in theatres much of a priority. However, multiple friends of mine went to watch it and reported that it was fantastic and that, as a horror fan, I would absolutely love it. So I decided to check it out, and not only was I totally blown away by its unique style and presentation of various elements of the movie, but its metaphorical themes and character studies.

Without spoilers, the movie itself is a critique of upper-class consumerism, with each character in the story representing a specific flaw or trait that defines this boujee culture as a whole (much like how one might personify the Seven Deadly Sins). While the chef’s plan for each of these characters becomes more clear as the movie goes on, the motivations behind specific actions are unclear on a surface level. Once you dig a bit deeper into each character and why they are on the island in the first place, the subtle tells reveal interesting caricatures of the yuppie-frat-boy silver spoon mentality, pessimistic pretentious esteemed food critics, and narcissistic self-centred opulent suits who eat wealthy to impress their equally ignorant friends.

Once the audience identifies the message that director Mark Mylod is painting, the movie then decides to absolutely ridicule and deconstruct these notions and clichés until they are reduced to humour, sparking the comedy aspect of the movie. Expertly displaying the true absurdities of the mindsets through the character’s reactions to bizarre and increasingly disturbing events planned out on the evening’s menu (haha, now the title of the movie makes sense), by the end of the movie the audience will most likely, in a twisted way, feel that these characters are being served their justice on an expertly crafted, smooth marble platter etched with carat gold. The Menu is a perfect fine-dining satire, delivered with grace and served with dessert.