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The Menu (Blu-ray Review)

As per every year, the one genre you can count on for both original content and box office success is horror. 2022 offered a variety of delights to appetize, including The Menu back in November to play concurrent to Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Now, the Anya Taylor-Joy/Ralph Fiennes thrilling dark comedy will be coming to standard Blu-ray for you to own on January 17th. This entree will come with a dessert of a few featurettes glazed with some deleted scenes. A digital copy is also included as the cherry on top. You can pre-order the Blu-ray for The Menu by using the paid Amazon Associates link that follows the review at the bottom of the page.

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Film

A young couple (Anya Taylor-Joy and Nicholas Hoult) travels to a coastal island to eat at an exclusive restaurant where the chef (Ralph Fiennes) has prepared a lavish menu, with some shocking surprises. The dark comedy is written by Seth Reiss & Will Tracy, and directed by Mark Mylod.

The Menu is a delish bit of dark comedy horror, proving an impressive film jump for notable TV director Mark Mylod. Its a film that doesn’t hold back in terms of its messaging and goes all in on the style and influence for the world with which it is providing parody. While it doesn’t have much to say beyond what you already know going in, its delightfully entertaining, with a big cast and fun shocks and thrills to provide some of the better mainstream horror fun in theaters this year.

With the structure of The Menu comes some of the brilliance in the storytelling of the film. This movie is told course by course, dish by dish and the relevant food unlocks a little more deviousness from the noted Chef as we gorge ourselves further into each dish. Things get pushed to more extremes as we go. But, the fun comes in either the presentation of the film or the food involved with which to provide a laugh or a discomfort as we go.

To fill out the kitchen, we have a great cast. Anya Taylor-Joy has become a price of admission worthy performer either be it her performance or what she’s in. She is making some of the most varied and interesting choices, so I say follow her wherever she goes. Stealing the control of the film is Ralph Fiennes who dives right on in and is as good as you’d expect him to be with a full on committal to his role in ways both frightening and funny. Nicholas Hoult also gives a performance that really adds to the authenticity. The rest of the cast is filled with fun performers that elevate the film as well. Janet McTeer, John Leguizamo and Judith Light all are an added bonus, but give us characters to really make this feel more of an equal ensemble.

Its no surprise that I’ve seen The Menu on many year’s best lists from 2022. This is exactly the kind of film that delivers a hook, a cast and an event that says “come see this in the theater” to a certain age range. And it really delivers on all that and is a very fun time at the movies. There’s almost something for everyone here and even the non-horror lover might find enjoyment in this one. A definite film to seek out, either by this disc, rental or currently streaming on HBO Max.

Video

Images featured in the review are courtesy of Searchlight Pictures and not screencaps from the Blu-ray.

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1

Layers: BD-50

Clarity/Detail: The Menu comes with a very sleek and polished look in its debut on Blu-ray. The image is crisp, sharp and features an array of very fine details to go along with some terrific color saturation, depth and black levels. Its really the best you can ask for on the standard Blu-ray format.

Depth: Depth of field is very good here, showcasing a nice sense of scale and making this contained movie feel pretty big. Movements are smooth and natural with no issues from motion distortions.

Black Levels: Blacks are deep and close to natural. They retain a good deep look while also showcasing different shades and having the ability to not hide fine textures, patterns and details. No crushing witnessed.

Color Reproduction: Colors are pretty gorgeous with good saturation. The more flashier colors pop, as doing things like fire and plenty of the garnishments and pieces of food when given nice close ups.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are natural and consistent from start to finish of the film. Finer points like freckles, moles, make-up strokes, wrinkles, sweat beads and more are clear as day from any given distance in the frame.

Noise/Artifacts: None

Audio

Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, English Audio Description 2.0, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, French 5.1 Dolby Digital

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French

Dynamics: This is a pretty banging and loose 5.1 track that The Menu offers. Its loud and its clean and really gives a nice sense of the space where its taking place. The mix is balanced with great, fine layering and depth.

Height: N/A

Low Frequency Extension: The subwoofer strikes with good force in bits of the score, jumps, gunfire, crashing and more.

Surround Sound Presentation: There’s a lot going on up front, but it has an active ambiance. This is a mix that really tracks the offscreen activity well and knows where everyone in the room is at all times.

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are clear and crisp.

Extras

The Menu comes with a redeemable digital code.

Open Kitchen: A Look Inside The Menu (HD, 17:21) – A 3-part making of labeled “First Course”, “Second Course” and “Dessert”. The parts go over the food involved in the film and the pros that were brought in to craft it. There’s a piece on getting the actors in the film prepped so it all comes across as genuine. Then the last part is dedicated to the S’more sequence. It has interviews with the director Mark Mylod, Ralph Fiennes, Anya Taylor-Joy, Nicholas Hoult, Janet McTeer and other cast and crew members from what might be during production of the film as costumes are the same as worn in the film from the actors. However, it includes quite a bit of spoilerific territory, so its not all in the name of being a “promo” piece.

Deleted Scenes (HD, 4:56)

Summary

The Menu is a nice, rock solid studio horror film, that while not going much past the mission statement, still delivers a fiendishly good time. This Blu-ray comes with a top of the line presentation for the format, considering 1080p and 5.1 methods being dated and a nice little smattering of light featurettes. Definitely a pick up for a nice sale price down the line.

This is a paid Amazon Associates link

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Brandon is the host, producer, writer and editor of The Brandon Peters Show (thebrandonpetersshow.com) on the Creative Zombie Studios Network. At Why So Blu he is a Writer/Reviewer. Brandon is a lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash. You can also find older essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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