Directed by Mark Mylod, ‘The Menu‘ is a black comedy horror film set on a remote island where the exclusive Hawthorne restaurant and its celebrity chef Julian Slowik (Ralph Fiennes) reside. Tyler (Nicholas Hoult) and Margot (Anya Taylor-Joy) are a couple who travel to this remote island along with several other guests. Once they reach there, everyone discovers the exquisite dishes are unlike anything else in the culinary world. However, they also realize that they have a few shocking surprises coming their way which will lead them down a treacherous path.
‘The Menu’ is a satire about elite people and fine dining. The movie portrays how people perceive the concept of fine dining and how at the end of the day, it is simply a status symbol and nothing more. The depiction of this idea is dark, hilarious, and violent at the same time. If you enjoy such facets in stories, we’ve got a list of interesting recommendations for you. You can watch most of these movies similar to ‘The Menu’ on Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime.
8. High-Rise (2015)
Based on the eponymous novel by J. G. Ballard, ‘High-Rise’ is a psychological thriller movie directed by Ben Wheatley that revolves around a residential tower with all the luxuries people can want and need. When Dr. Robert Laing (Tom Hiddleston) moves in, he discovers how the tower and its residents function in a socio-economic hierarchy. However, when the building’s services start faltering, chaos ensues as people turn against each other.
‘High-Rise’ depicts capitalism and classism as destructive forces that can decimate humanity. In the movie, several scenes and incidents are symbolic of the idea. The overall narrative exemplifies how people fall prey to capitalistic desires and needs and devour each other over them. ‘High-Rise’ and ‘The Menu’ similarly portray the rich- in both cases, the upper-class people are elitist and snobbish. While the amenities and exclusive parties in ‘High-Rise’ are indicators of a status symbol, ‘The Menu’ represents the same concept through fine dining.
7. Truth or Dare (2013)
Jessica Cameron’s directorial ‘Truth or Dare’ is a film about college friends who make ‘Truth or Dare’ videos for the internet with their violent spin on them. When the group crosses paths with an obsessive fan, things take a dark turn. The plot and themes of ‘Truth or Dare’ and ‘The Menu’ differ, yet the way they approach their concepts seems familiar. On the one hand, ‘The Menu’ focuses on fine dining.
Meanwhile, ‘Truth or Dare’ focuses on social media and the general fandom people get from it. Both films use hyperbole to drive their point home about the reality of fine dining and social media, respectively. The violence in ‘The Menu’ reminds us of ‘Truth or Dare,’ but the latter is less layered than the former.
6. Would You Rather (2012)
David Guy Levy-directed ‘Would You Rather’ is a horror thriller based on the eponymous game. Iris’s brother has leukemia, and he needs a bone marrow donor. So, she decides to participate in a game of ‘Would You Rather’ with a few strangers and soon finds out that the tasks are too real and violent. The movie is an extreme answer to the question, “What lengths would you go to save someone you love?” The titular game is organized by Shepard Lambrick, who witnesses the events as they unfold before him.
In some ways, Shepard is like Chef Slowik from ‘The Menu’ – both men are innately sadistic and want to watch people in torment. Though the chef’s motivations are crystal clear, Shepard’s reason for hosting such a gruesome game is ambiguous. This builds intrigue around the characters and makes the audience ponder after the credits roll.
5. Fantasy Island (2020)
Jeff Wadlow’s ‘Fantasy Island‘ is a classic survival film set on the titular island. When a group of people travels there to live their wildest fantasies, they discover how their dreams can turn into their worst nightmares. Soon, the people experience unexplainable incidents, and the quest for survival begins. Like ‘The Menu’ and a few other films on this list, ‘Fantasy Island’ is a hyperbolic portrayal of a real-life concept.
The people on ‘Fantasy Island’ and their desperation for survival resemble the guests in ‘The Menu.’ Besides, both movies also leverage symbolism in how they showcase violence and the fate of the people. These facets keep the audience hooked until the end as they keep guessing how it will all go down.
4. Triangle of Sadness (2022)
Ruben Östlund’s directorial ‘Triangle of Sadness‘ is a satire that examines rich people’s mannerisms and explores how the societal hierarchy works in any given scenario. It portrays how the power balance completely shifts when a group of guests and crew members gets stranded on an island. Unlike ‘The Menu,’ which focuses on one subject, ‘Triangle of Sadness’ touches upon social media influence, classism, and hierarchy.
One of the key similarities between the two movies is the depiction of rich people and their behavior. While ‘Triangle of Sadness’ captures how the wealthy are intolerant of any inconvenience, ‘The Menu’ sheds light on how they equate any art to wealth. Hence, these layers give the audience an insight into the elite society’s behavior and psyche.
3. Velvet Buzzsaw (2019)
Directed by Dan Gilroy, ‘Velvet Buzzsaw‘ is a black comedy horror film set around the art industry in Los Angeles. When Morf (Jake Gyllenhaal) encounters paintings from an unknown artist, one of his peers decides to sell them. Soon, people start dying due to a supernatural force that seeks vengeance against anyone selling the art for money.
One of the key differences between ‘Velvet Buzzsaw’ and ‘The Menu’ is the paranormal element. The supernatural force is analogous to Chef Slowik because both want to make people see that art is not merely a status symbol but more than that. The two films condemn people with big pockets satisfying their lust for money and validation at others’ expense.
2. Ready or Not (2019)
Helmed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, ‘Ready or Not‘ follows Grace, a newly-wed bride, who is asked to play a game of hide and seek with the family as part of its tradition. Soon, she realizes how deadly the game is and starts fighting for her survival. The violence in the movie is quite reminiscent of the one in ‘The Menu.’ In addition, Grace’s survival instincts remind us of Margot’s tactics to try and get off the island. ‘Ready or Not’ isn’t a satire but has subtle nuances that mock cults and sacrifices. Both films are pretty dark, yet ‘Ready or Not’ carries less tension in its scenes than ‘The Menu.’
1. Parasite (2019)
‘Parasite‘ is perhaps one of the best satires on classism we have seen in the last few years. Bong Joon-ho’s Oscar-winning movie is about an underprivileged family of four that manipulates its way into a wealthy couple’s house and starts working for them. Although the plot of ‘The Menu’ and ‘Parasite’ is vastly different, the family of four from the latter and the chef from the former have similar views on the elite class.
In ‘Parasite,’ we see the family yearn to become rich someday. But as the narrative progresses, they understand how their desires stem from their poverty and insecurities. In ‘The Menu,’ Chef Slowik is much ahead of the curve, and we see this in how he despises upper-class people. Naturally, both movies have numerous layers that the narrative peels off one by one, putting this critically acclaimed gem at the top of our list!
Read More: Movies Like Parasite