The Menu Reviews Are Here, See What Critics Are Saying About The Ralph Fiennes Dark Comedy Horror Movie

Ralph Fiennes in The Menu
(Image credit: Searchlight Pictures)

Halloween has come and gone, and Thanksgiving is already upon us. What better time, then, to release a horror movie centered around food? The Menu stars Ralph Fiennes as celebrity chef Julian Slowik, who hosts a small group of wealthy foodies, writers and celebrities for an exclusive meal at his restaurant, which is located on a remote island. Suffice it to say these guests have a few surprises headed their way. The movie garnered pretty positive reactions when it premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, and now the reviews are here to tell us more about The Menu

Along with Ralph Fiennes, the film centers around the young couple Margot (Anya Taylor-Joy) and Tyler (Nicholas Hoult), who are among Chef Slowik’s guests. Other members of the ensemble include Hong Chau, Janet McTeer, John Leguizamo, Paul Adelstein and Mark St. Cyr. Let’s see what the critics have to say ahead of the movie’s November 18 theatrical release, starting with CinemaBlend’s review of The Menu. Eric Eisenberg rates the film 4.5 stars out of 5, praising its multi-layered mystery and well-blended genres. He also warns us to avoid spoilers, so we will be sure to do just that in the excerpts below. Eisenberg says: 

The genres are perfectly swirled to the point where none of them specifically stand out, leaving the film a unique emulsion that is thrilling, scary, and funny in equal measure, but more importantly, unrelentingly sharp and entertaining. It’s full of characters you love to hate, skewers pretention with smart class warfare satire, and has a striking, clean design that brilliantly bolsters the atmosphere and would earn an ‘A’ grade from any health inspector.

CinemaBlend’s Corey Chichizola screened the film at TIFF, and he also gives it 4.5 out of 5 stars, saying even non-horror fans can appreciate The Menu because of its comedy. See what he and Hannah Saulic have to say in our spoiler-free video review

Travis Hopson of Punch Drunk Critics rates the movie at 3 stars out of 5, saying with each course, The Menu gives viewers something new to chew on. The building tension is broken up by plenty of humor — sometimes too much of it, this critic says: 

The Menu serves up heaping dish of dark comedy that slices up the elite class and bullshit wannabe foodies like so much pork tenderloin. Directed by Succession helmer Mark Mylod from a script by The Onion vets Seth Reiss and Will Tracy, the film is most notably recognizable as an Adam McKay joint. While he’s only here as a producer, his gift for finding the funny in class warfare is everywhere here, just as his penchant for painting everyone with the broadest of brushes.

Leah Greenblatt of Entertainment Weekly grades The Menu a B+, calling it a “glossy, skewering satire,” in which we can savor the suffering of the ultra-rich. The critic praises the ensemble cast, particularly Ralph Fiennes, she says, who makes the most of his role: 

The Menu's swishy, gleeful satire is not his ordinary milieu, but he's too good an actor not to turn Julian into a far better monster than we probably deserve, careening between sniffy pique, red-hot malevolence, and small, strange pockets of tenderness. The movie loses some momentum in the final third, and tends to over-egg its caricatures of all these platinum-card fools and clueless masters of the universe. But its appetite for destruction is also too much fun in the end to refuse: a giddy little amuse bouche for the apocalypse to come.

Aaron Neuwirth of We Live Entertainment, gives the movie a User Rating of 7, highlighting how director Mark Mylod keeps things exciting even with the characters contained to a room, and he keeps us invested in the characters regardless of how unsympathetic they are. More from the review: 

The Menu is not looking to go any deeper than it needs to, but it knows how to get a rise out of its audience. Some good laughs come with the absurdity of this premise, as well as plenty of reasons to be shocked as things begin to heat up. It’s a fun film and a well-acted one at that.

Ann Hornaday of the Washington Post gives the film 2.5 out of 4 stars, saying its “seared, carefully julienned heart” is in the right place, even if it takes things too far to the extreme: 

Once the game is afoot, though, The Menu’s soufflé starts to sag, with the plot becoming drearier in direct proportion to the body-horror jump scares. ‘Eat the rich’ might be a popular theme this movie season, but The Menu takes the idea to extremes that finally overpower the palate.

The critics definitely have me intrigued about this one! If this movie sounds appetizing to you, you will be able to catch it in theaters starting Friday, November 18. You can see what else is in store for the box office for the remaining weeks of the year with our 2022 Movie Release Schedule, and take a peek at what’s coming to theaters in 2023 as well. 

Heidi Venable
Content Producer

Heidi Venable is a Content Producer for CinemaBlend, a mom of two and a hard-core '90s kid. She started freelancing for CinemaBlend in 2020 and officially came on board in 2021. Her job entails writing news stories and TV reactions from some of her favorite prime-time shows like Grey's Anatomy and The Bachelor. She graduated from Louisiana Tech University with a degree in Journalism and worked in the newspaper industry for almost two decades in multiple roles including Sports Editor, Page Designer and Online Editor. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Thrives on New Orleans Saints football, The West Wing and taco trucks.