In keeping with the tradition of giving us new holiday classics each month, Hulu’s Into the Dark delves back into Christmas, in one of the most off the walls insanity they’ve ever done! “A Nasty Piece of Work” relates to all of us who have ever been frustrated by a job, and the intense hoops we must jump through to get ahead.
Spoiler Free – These twists and turns are way too good to ruin!!!
Soul Crushing Job
We begin with Ted (Kyle Howard) rushing to get his boss, Mr. Essex (Julian Sands) his golf clubs in an attempt to gain favor with him right as Christmas bonus season approaches.
At the work Christmas party later that evening, it’s announced that there will be no bonuses whatsoever, prompting Ted to feel as if it was all for nothing. Shortly after, Essex invites him to his home that very night, for a special executive opportunity.
Upon arriving with his wife Tatum (Angela Sarafyan), Ted realizes that the only other “candidate” invited is his work rival, and all-around suck-up Gavin (Dustin Milligan), along with his trophy wife Missy (Natalie Hall).
Once inside, they are greeted by Essex, and his wife Kiwi (Molly Hagan), and what follows is one of the most absurd, brutal, horrifying, and darkly hilarious dinner party ever thrown, minus the dinner.
There’s honestly not much that can be described from here on out without spoiling anything. Perhaps the best way to phrase it would be that as each round goes by, we think that we’re finally understanding what it happening, just to be completely proven wrong. Its twists and turns would rival that of an Agatha Christie novel, all while revealing who these characters really are.
No Weak Links
Aside from sharp and witty writing with a great twisted sense of humor, the performances from this ensemble cast really stand out.
Each one of them clearly has issues of their own, and as the mind games of the night go on, all semblance of civility erodes from each of them and the desperate, selfish, opportunistic ids remain. Even a character like Missy, who initially only seems like an attractive trophy wife is given moments to shine and develop her character’s quirks and desires.
All the while Ted seems like our everyman protagonist, but as his own backstory comes out, and the further down this demented rabbit hole he goes, we quickly learn that he’s truly just as disturbed as everyone else.
It’s a lot of fun to watch him bounce off of a seasoned British veteran of acting like Julian Sands, who just seems to be having so much fun playing Essex as an incredibly unpredictable man who doesn’t even know himself what he’s going to do next.
It’s quite clear that screenwriter Paul Soter (Super Troopers, Club Dread, Beerfest) and director Charles Hood (In the Vault, Play by Play) really understood each character and let the actors delve deeply into them. Given its single location for most of the duration and emphasis on dialogue and character moments, it felt very much like a play at times, and a good one at that!
Overall “A Nasty Piece of Work” is a fun and twisted holiday tale that will appeal to the frustrated, overworked employee in us all!