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Monday May 20th

Unpredictable and delicious: ‘The Menu’ review

<p>(Photo courtesy of IMDb)</p>

(Photo courtesy of IMDb)

By Sara Nigro
Staff Writer

The latest comedy-horror film to hit theaters, “The Menu,” was released on Nov. 18.

The film was directed by Mark Mylod and stars Anya Taylor Joy, known for her lead role in Netflix’s “The Queen's Gambit,” and Nicholas Hoult, known for his role in Hulu’s “The Great.”

“The Menu” follows Joy and Hoult’s characters, Margot and Tyler, as they attend an exclusive, high-class restaurant, which hosts only 12 customers per night, on an island called Hawthorne. Each customer on a particular night plays a relevant part in the story that unfolds.

The audience knows very little about these characters at the beginning of the film, but the characteristics and truths of each individual unravel as the film continues. Learning small details about each character, we learn that Tyler is obsessed with cooking and food and idolizes the chef at Hawthorne. Alternately, Margot seems to know very little about the experience that she is walking into as she was a last-minute guest.

The restaurant and its staff hold secrets about the staff and the staff that the customers may or may not know about, which is revealed bit by bit as the film progresses.

This film exceeded my expectations and combines two genres in an effective manner, resulting in an objectively “good” film, as well as an entertaining experience.

The comedic timing in the film was genius. It has such a natural flow and the one liners are relatable to a variety of audience members. Each character has defining characteristics that when emphasized in a comedic setting, creates a levity that adds to the genre as a whole.

As a viewer, I rarely enjoy horror films just purely based on my own personal preferences, as I am not always a big fan of gore and violence.  While I am sure the comedic elements added to my enjoyment of the film greatly, the parts of the film that could be categorized as “horror,” such as jumpscares and gory violence, were portrayed in such a way that I appreciated them.

I would categorize this film as a comedy thriller because of the intensity and fast paced violent scenes that were shocking at times. While the tone of the film is disturbing and dark at times, it doesn’t reflect many other staples of the horror genre.

In addition to the overall story and plot, the acting in the film was incredible, which is mostly credited to Joy.

Joy has proven herself as a versatile actress who is able to master any accent, character and genre. From her role as Beth Harmon in “The Queen’s Gambit” to Emma in the adaptation of Jane Austen’s “Emma,” Joy continues to surprise audiences. 

Joy’s ability to play a likable character in the midst of so many unlikable characters is done so well, despite the audience knowing very little about her character. As a viewer, I felt as if I should be rooting for her based on the demeanor she portrays, rather than the information we know about her as a person.

In a more technical aspect, the use of sound and music throughout “The Menu” was used to create a specific underlying tone of anxiety and unease. For example, the use of clapping to announce a new course to the customers at the Hawthorne allows the audience to gain an understanding of the power and intensity the chef holds.

While the film doesn’t revolve around music or sound, but rather food, the use of these elements are essential in creating the desired effect.

“The Menu” is a film unlike any other I’ve seen, as it tells a unique story in a fast-paced manner. With its terrific acting and comedic timing, I would recommend “The Menu” to everyone.


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