Gathering with friends or family for a dinner party is a seemingly normal, innocuous thing to do. But sometimes the conversation gets weird, doesn’t it? Somethings you’re only a few minutes into cocktail hour when you realize you’ve made a grave mistake and would like to leave. But you can’t. Appetizers are coming out. Your host has worked hard on the main course. There’s likely dessert to sit through. And there are other, more sinister happenings…
You stare at the steak knife, wondering if you could wield it as a weapon if you really had to. Dinner parties turning violent—even murderous—is a common enough threat. You should be ready.
Luckily there is a varied buffet of delectable horror movies from which you can gain insight and inspiration. With Thanksgiving—the ultimate dinner party—coming, it’s time to prepare for the absolute worst. The following films serve up a mouthwatering spread of dinner-party horror offerings.
This forthcoming film focuses on a young couple, Tyler (Nichols Hoult) and Margot (Anya Taylor Joy), who travel to a remote island to dine at a coveted destination restaurant run by a celebrity chef, Chef Slowick (Ralph Fiennes). The lavish menu features food as artwork and comments on the pretentiousness of foodie culture, especially as the dining experience turns dangerous. Director Mark Mylod’s The Menu is a darkly comedic thriller soon to be served up near you (in theaters November 17, 2022) just in time for Thanksgiving.
Who Invited Them
Adam (Ryan Hansen) and Margo (Melissa Tang), throw a housewarming party at their fancy new home in the Hollywood hills. After everyone leaves, two uninvited guests linger. Tom (Timothy Granaderos) and Sasha (Perry Mattfeld) introduce themselves as neighbors, offering strange and flirtatious banter. These interactions are funny though infused with dread. Suspense builds around the central question of why Tom and Sasha are really there. Writer-director Duncan Birmingham’s cleverly written film is an entertaining thriller about a cocktail party gone horribly wrong—and a lesson in checking the guest list twice.
Cadi (Annes Elwy) is hired to assist with a dinner party at a private residence in rural Wales. While she behaves strangely from the moment she arrives, tracking mysterious dirt from her feet and fingers and wandering off at times, this goes largely unnoticed by the homeowners. Glenda (Nia Roberts) and Gwyn (Julian Lewis Jones) are consumed by their true intentions, which are revealed at dinner alongside a folk horror backstory. Filmed in Welsh, Director Lee Haven Jones’s The Feast has unique cinematography and offers slow build toward a bizarre dinner party with a gory ending.
The Dinner Party
A playwright, Jeffrey Duncan (Mike Mayhall), and his wife, Haley (Alli Hart) attend a dinner party hosted by a wealthy man, Carmine Braun (Bill Sage), and his elite friends. Jeffrey desperately hopes his hosts will finance his new play. He is controlling, telling Haley what to say and how to act. The dinner party gets increasingly strange, turning violent, as the hosts’ unusual, ritualistic proclivities are revealed. Writer-director Miles Doleac weaves a thrilling horror tale of a dinner party gone very wrong.
Will (Logan Marshall-Green) accepts an invitation to attend a dinner party hosted by his ex-wife, Eden (Tammy Blanchard) and her new husband, David (Michiel Huisman), at his former home. The event is a reunion of old friends gathering for the first time in the two years since Eden disappeared to Mexico. Cocktails and appetizers come with a hefty side of unease. Dread mounts as the true reason for the invitation is revealed. The story takes surprising turns, erupting into violence in Karyn Kusama’s strange and thrilling tale.
Eight friends, including Em (Emily Baldoni), Kevin (Maury Sterling), and Mike (Nicholas Brendon) and more, convene for a dinner party on the night when Miller’s Comet passes overhead. Strange things are known to happen on such a celestial occasion. Unexplainable phenomena indeed occur. Time and physical reality stop making sense, while the dinner party conversation becoming increasingly awkward and drama between friends is revealed. Writer-director James Ward Byrkit’s film is a mind-bending dinner party horror tale.
The Perfect Host
When we meet John Taylor (Clayne Crawford), he’s on the run from the law and desperately needs a place to hide out. He randomly enters the home of Warwick Wilson (David Hyde Pierce) under false pretenses and is invited to stay for a dinner party—an exceedingly strange affair that takes a series of surprising and horrifying turns. John’s backstory is slowly revealed while Warwick’s own psychological quirks provide a source of conflict. Writer-director Nicholas Tomnay’s twisty film is an undeniably entertaining serving of dinner party cinema.
Erin (Sharni Vinson) and Crispin Davidson (A.J. Bowen) drive to visit Crispin’s parents and adult siblings for a family dinner party in rural Mississippi. Erin tries to fit in while the dinner table conversation becomes unpleasant, exposing family tensions. The situation grows infinitely worse when someone shoots a crossbow through the window. Violence escalates into a full-scale home invasion. Erin struggles to stay alive amidst the chaos in Adam Wingard’s engaging and innovative horror film.
The Last Supper
In this black comedy, a group of liberal grad students, including Jude (Cameron Diaz), Pete (Ron Eldard), and Paulie (Annabeth Gish), throw a dinner party. An unexpected guest, Zack (Bill Paxton), attends but has extreme conservative views. The conversation turns combative; the group accidentally kills Zack. This gives them the idea to murder conservatives at their regular, Sunday night dinners. One such victim is an anti-environmentalist (Jason Alexander). Ron Pearlman also stars as a conservative political candidate in Stacy Title’s satirical dinner party horror film.
Alfred Hitchcock’s Rope, adapted from the 1929 play by Patrick Hamilton, begins in a Manhattan penthouse apartment with two friends Rupert Cadell (James Stewart) and Brandon (John Dall) murdering their former prep school classmate. They host a dinner party that night and hide the body in a large wood chest, disguising it with a tablecloth and buffet of food. For James and John, the murder and coverup are a thrilling way to prove their superiority. Filmed in what appear to be long, uninterrupted shots, Rope is an enthralling character study and crime story. It is also Hitchcock’s first technicolor film.