‘The Menu’ TIFF Premiere Draws Squirms, Squeals and Big Laughs From ‘Succession’-Meets-‘Saw’ Horror Feast

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One of the biggest crowdpleasers of the Toronto International Film Festival has arrived.

The Menu,” a high-class horror comedy written by Seth Reiss and Will Tracy and directed by Mark Mylod, held its rollicking world premiere at the Royal Alexandra Theatre on Saturday. Mylod, the in-demand TV director who has helmed key episodes of “Game of Thrones,” “Shameless” and “Succession,” leaned on the satirical world of the latter series in this black comedy lampooning fine dining, foodie culture and the ultra-rich.

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Anya Taylor-Joy continues her scene-stealing career as Margot, a cuisine novice who agrees to join obnoxious Tyler (Nicholas Hoult, as infuriating and pathetic as he is on “The Great”) at a hyper-expensive, once-in-a-lifetime meal prepared by the intimidating and legendary Chef Slowik (a devilish Ralph Fiennes) at his private island restaurant. Although the menu is rumored to be legendary, there is, of course, more in store for the diners than meets the eye.

A cast of talented comedic ringers (Hong Chau! John Leguizamo! Judith Light!) makes up the rest of the waitstaff and diners. To give more details would ruin the twists, which come fast, shocking and funny.

The starry Saturday night crowd was eager to take the wild ride, with actors such as Eddie Redmayne and Charles Dance applauding at the film’s end.

During a lively post-premiere Q&A, which Taylor-Joy couldn’t attend in person but instead Zoomed in on an enormous screen, Mylod revealed that his biggest inspiration for the film was Robert Altman’s clever whodunit “Gosford Park,” which also served as the model for the epic “Succession” meal in season 2’s “Tern Haven.”

Needless to say, “Succession” fans will be thrilled with “The Menu,” which could be an alternate reality episode of the show, complete with the stinging music cues, lush set design and buffoonish snobs that make the series so addictive.

“The Menu” is set to open in U.S. theaters on Nov. 18.

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