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The Menu's 12 Most Disturbing Moments Ranked

Mark Mylod's latest film, "The Menu," delivers fresh thrills, delectable dark comedy, and a sharp horror story set in an artistic foodie atmosphere. The film takes viewers into a meal full of murderous intentions as Chef Julian Slowik (Ralph Fiennes) gathers a group of pretentious and wealthy diners to his secluded island restaurant, Hawthorne, for his latest menu, which sees him dish out some cold revenge. With each course that passes, the guests inch closer to their demise and one guest in particular, Margot (Anya Taylor-Joy), finds herself in a power struggle with Chef Slowik that could serve as her only escape. 

Along with some spectacular performances, especially from Fiennes and Taylor-Joy, "The Menu" provides some chilling horror moments that certainly to help weave together a compelling mystery with horrifying results. It's not the kind of horror thriller that catches viewers off guard with shocks and scares, but "The Menu" does have plenty of disturbing moments and thematic horrors that makes viewers squirm, adding some dark dashes to an otherwise polished food world. From some startling moments with Chef Slowik and his staff to some creepy main courses, let's delve into some of the most disturbing moments in "The Menu." 

This article contains spoilers for "The Menu."

12. Pictures on the tortillas

Even an culinary artist like Chef Slowik can't resist doing his own twist on Taco Tuesday for one of his courses. After telling his traumatic family story, he delivers another chilling revelation to the tables. While things seem normal at first, the guests start to notice that the tortillas feature some personalized photos and information that have no business being there. Some of them have simple pictures that remind them of their past or current actions while others, like those of the trio of snarky tech bros, have some incriminating information. 

These tortillas might seem small and not as impactful, but it's really one of the first big instances that show things aren't as they seem. They give an intriguing glimpse into this group of guests and some of their shadier behavior, as well as the motivations behind what Chef Slowik plans to put them through. Plus there's just something super eerie about how detailed and personalized they are, so while it might not be one of the more grotesque or disturbing moments of "The Menu," it's a chilling one that puts you on edge. 

11. A little hide and seek

One of the more thrilling moments of "The Menu" comes in the Man's Folly course, after sous-chef Katherine (Christina Brucato) tells the story behind it. Once Katherine is done with her personal monologue, Chef Slowik steps back into the lead role and tells the guests about what's going to happen next — and it's not what you'd expect. In appreciation of Katherine's story about being sexually targeted by Chef Slowik, only the women get to enjoy the beautifully constructed course, while the men have the opportunity to try and escape or at least hide across the island. 

While it might seem more like a benefit for the men since they can attempt to flee, it's really a winless game of hide and seek since Chef Slowik's staff are literally on their tails the entire time. Regardless of their ability to sprint across the island or possibly find a boat to escape on, there's really no chance that anyone is leaving Hawthorne. Even when Ted (Paul Adelstein) finds a suitable hiding spot in the chicken coop, it's not too long until he's found. At least he's comically rewarded with a small meal of his own for being the last one found. Although this sequence is meant to be darkly comical, it's a disturbing reminder that this group is not escaping their inevitable fate. 

10. Happy Birthday

In a moment heavily played up during the trailers, "The Menu" unveils a darkly funny and chilling sequence featuring a birthday cake. As the night progresses towards the fatal final course, the feelings in the room grow dour. When they're at their most hopeless, Chef Slowik decides to fulfill a request for a birthday cake presentation. While the cake looks absolutely delicious, it's definitely an awkward moment. 

As Chef Slowik and his staff come and sing "Happy Birthday" to Bryce (Rob Yang), there's just this awkward feel to it considering everything that's happened. Bryce (Rob Yang) makes the sequence a little more light-hearted by revealing that it's not his birthday, only for Soren (Arturo Castro) to say that the idea seemed funny before. It might have a funny feel to it, but make no mistake, the visible blood on Chef Slowik's clothes and the casual nature of him and his staff doing this after everything that's happened gives this sequence a creepy veneer that doesn't go unnoticed. 

9. No more ring finger

Once the group starts to see that Chef Slowik might have some ulterior plans for them, some of them begin to get cold feet and either try to leave or talk to Chef Slowik and Elsa (Hong Chau). One of the guests, Richard (Reed Birney), decides to take the flight approach, but finds that Chef Slowik's staff won't let him leave. He pays quite a price for being insubordinate: Just as he tries to confront the staff, he's quickly restrained and Chef Slowik orders that his ring finger be cut off. 

At first, you're kind of left wondering if it's actually going to happen, but then before you know it, Richard's ring finger is on the floor and his wife is further taunted by having the ring given back to her. It's one of the darkest sequences in "The Menu" and a major turning point for the film, since the guests really realize that things are about to take a bloody turn. It's also one of the first times we see how dedicated the staff are to Chef Slowik's vision for the night. They're literally willing to do anything to keep the guests at Hawthorne, which makes it much more disturbing to watch. 

8. Family story time

In one of the earlier courses of the night, Chef Slowik preempts the meal with a personal story that lets the guests get a better glimpse into his life, even if it's a story that doesn't exactly lighten the mood. Before serving his take on Taco Tuesday, Chef Slowik not only introduces the room to his alcoholic mother Linda (Rebecca Coon), but also tells a story about a time that he was abused by his father and forced to act violently in self-defense. 

It's a story that doesn't exactly elicit the light-hearted feels of something like "Taco Tuesday" and sets a darker tone that almost feels foreboding, given what follows. It's even more disturbing to hear Chef Slowik tell this story with little to no emotion, while having his mother sitting in the room in a clearly damaged state. If you were skeptical that Chef Slowik might not be as bad as he seems by this point, you certainly start to change your perspective on him thanks to this disturbing family backstory, which will make you easily lose your appetite.  

If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233. You can also find more information, resources, and support at their website.

7. Man's Folly

At the midway point in the night, Chef Slowik directs the guests outside for the next course, much to the shock of everyone. Once they're all outside, Chef Slowik presents sous-chef Katherine — inventor of the next course and the one who came up with the idea for the night to end in death — to introduce the inspiration behind the next meal: a skin-crawling story about her relationship with Chef Slowik.

Katherine reveals in painstaking fashion that Chef Slowik has made multiple sexual advances towards her throughout their time working together. While she's denied him at every instance, he still kept trying. Thus, with this meal, she's able to get some revenge by being able to stab Chef Slowik in the thigh, which is mirrored in the meal with the chicken thigh being stabbed by small gold-colored scissors. It's a moment that shows the dedication that Chef Slowik has for this menu, while delivering a pretty gross reveal about him that makes his domineering presence even more chilling. 

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6. Tyler, literally just Tyler

Margot's date Tyler (Nicholas Hoult) is easily one of the most infuriating and creepiest characters in "The Menu," as his sheer love for food and admiration for Chef Slowik goes a little too far for comfort. After seeing everything that Chef Slowik and his staff do to terrorize the guests and make this murderous menu come to life, it's pretty unsettling to see Tyler act so calmly through it all and continue to focus on the food and impressing Chef Slowik. Even though Tyler's attitude and reactions are all meant to be played for some dark laughs, it's hard not to feel a little disturbed by his normalcy, creating some subtle creepy element throughout. 

Tyler's most heinous act of all is undoubtedly bringing Margot along while knowing that she was going to die, making him a true date from hell. It's a gut-punch reveal that sadly doesn't feel too surprising, considering how Tyler couldn't care less about Margot. But it still leaves this hollow feeling, because Margot wasn't even supposed to be there in the first place. The guest list of "The Menu" is totally full of despicable people, but Tyler tops them all, thanks to his disturbing love for Chef Slowik that ultimately becomes his undoing.

5. The final course

With everyone's fate basically being sealed as Margot walks out of Hawthorne — having gained the respect of Chef Slowik with her cheeseburger request — you're instantly left wondering what the final course of Chef Slowik's revenge menu will entail. It turns out that Chef Slowik wishes to put his own artistic and murderous spin on s'mores for the finale, and it's as extravagant and disturbing as you'd expect. The sight of his staff dressing the guests with marshmallow pullovers and spreading graham cracker dust all over the room is incredibly creepy, leading to an even more horrifying result.

As said throughout the night, everyone in Hawthorne is going to die, Chef Slowik and his staff included, and that's exactly what happens. After addressing the guests and thanking his staff one last time, Chef Slowik lights the room ablaze. It's an unnerving sight to behold: even with the guests being unlikable, watching the resignation on their faces is a brutal emotional moment and the fast-moving flames makes for a devastating finale. The final course is certainly one of the film's most horrific and sticks with you for both its artistic vision and sheer terrifying nature.

4. A drowning angel

At one point, Chef Slowik addresses the trio of snarky businessmen sitting at a table, after they start questioning everything that's going on and the incriminating information they see printed on their tortillas. It seems like it's just going to be a simple interaction at first, but then Chef Slowik cranks up the horror by directing everyone toward the window looking outside the restaurant. Earlier, Margot notices a staff member carrying angel wings into the woods and you can't help but wonder what they'll be for. It's in this moment that you find out.

Chef Slowik has kidnapped his corrupt financial investor, who's also the boss of the three businessmen, and strung him up over the water wearing the angel wings. Then after telling the group that he is a part of the reason that Slowik lost his passion for cooking and is an influencer of this horrid avant-garde food culture, Chef Slowik orders him to be drowned. It's a gut-wrenching moment not only because of how slowly he is lowered into the water, but also because of how cold and uncaring Chef Slowik is about killing him. Up to this point, it's appeared that Chef Slowik was cold in general, but with this action he shows that his style of revenge is icier than ever.

3. Harsh truth

Tyler's desire to constantly get Chef Slowik's attention and gain his admiration eventually comes back to bite him. The Chef not only reveals that he's known about everything the whole time, but also gives Tyler a uniform and a position in the kitchen. However, respect isn't handed to anyone in this kitchen, it must be earned. So Chef Slowik forces Tyler to cook him a meal to prove his strengths as a culinary artist.

As you might expect, it doesn't go well. Chef Slowik not only humiliates Tyler in front of everyone, but also convinces Tyler to end things. There's a moment where Chef Slowik whispers into Tyler's ear, and while we can't hear anything that's said, Tyler's face displaying his heart and soul being destroyed says it all. Chef Slowik has never looked colder. His loss of love for cooking is on full display and the end result that Margot stumbles across is absolutely crushing. Even though Tyler has been a nuisance and completely disgusting, you can't help but feel sorry for him and his fate. It's one of the most satisfying yet horrifying moments in "The Menu."

2. Chef Slowik's loyal staff

Never has a cooking staff looked more dedicated and loyal than Chef Slowik's, which makes them all the more disturbing to watch. Their dedication is almost cult-like in how they are in such unison with him and are willing to sacrifice anything for his special menu to be complete. They go to some disturbing lengths to keep Chef Slowik's vision intact and aren't afraid to do some horrifying things to the guests.

That includes cutting off fingers, chasing and beating the guests to keep them in place, harming themselves, and causing some real psychological torment to the guests to kick them while they're down. Not to mention, of course, their willingness to go down with Chef Slowik and follow him into the abyss without any sort of hesitation. Elsa is easily Chef Slowik's greatest ally, and her desire to break down the guests and even go toe-to-toe with Margot in the chef's house make her an unnerving presence full of dark surprises. Although Chef Slowik is the central dark figure in "The Menu," his staff members make their own unsettling impression that leaves its mark and plays a strong role in the film's greatest horrors.

1. The Mess

The most disturbing and genuinely horrifying moment in "The Menu" undoubtedly comes during the course titled "The Mess," as it literally contains a mix of psychological and bloody terror. Things start out pretty serene as nothing too horrifying has happened yet, until the silence is broken by Chef Slowik's signature clap and his introduction of sous-chef Jeremy (Adam Aalderks). At first, it seems like Chef Slowik is praising Jeremy for his creation of the next course, but then he starts pointing out some harsh truths that cut deep.

Chef Slowik talking about how Jeremy's aspirations to gain the same success are futile and unachievable genuinely feels like a knife to the belly, and Jeremy's slow turn into depressing defeat is completely cruel. Yet this is all part of Jeremy's course and leads to a jaw-dropping moment as Jeremy ends things in front of everyone, thus connecting to "The Mess" title. As the staff puts up tarp around him, you just know something bad is going to happen, yet Jeremy's act is still shocking, vicious, and sudden to the point where all the guests start to question if it was real or not. It's a key turning point in the film that really drives all the horror that follows — a memorably disturbing moment that's tough to get out of one's head. 

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ by dialing 988 or by calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.