A Nasty Piece of Work is Unsatisfying On All Fronts
By: Salvatore Cento
Into The Dark is an anthology horror series that premiered on Hulu in 2018. With the first season premiering in October 2018 and then ending in September 2018, the show’s theme seems to center around the current episode cashing in on whatever the current holiday is. The normal ones are here such as Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve but some rare ones make the cut as well like International Women’s Day, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.
As the second season is rolling out as I’m typing this, I decided to see what all the fuss was about.
Into The Dark: A Nasty Piece of Work. Produced by Blumhouse. Long title. Malevolent title. But it’s also a general and vague title. There is nothing in there that connects the feeling that those words convey to the main idea featured in this episode.
After getting cold shouldered in the beginning, our main character Ted who is played by Kyle Howard, gets invited to his boss’s house along with his wife, Angela Sarafyan to compete in all night even against the suck up of the company, Gavin played by Dustin Milligan and his wife Missy who is portrayed by Natalie Hall.
The first thing I have to get off my chest is how the boss (Julian Sands) speaks. I don’t know if he was told to speak in a certain way for the duration of the movie or that’s just how he naturally talks but chalk against a chalkboard would be the instinctual analogy.
Now that the elephant in the room has been taken care of, onto the main problem. Don’t get me wrong, the ride is fun. But when the overall premise is promised to be horror (given the title and the category it’s placed within on Hulu) and the viewer is left with another feeling altogether once the credits roll, can the movie still stick to the same genre? Gleeful, happy endings don’t satisfy when the whole movie is building to a creepy climax. That is a let down.
Another factor that let me down was the fact that between the three couples that are prominently featured in this movie, only one has any sort of chemistry and that’s because they’re constantly arguing amongst themselves. Steven and Kiwi. The ones who are hosting this competition.
Truthfully, the plot of A Nasty Piece of Work has been done so many times over. Unsuspecting people get pulled into a situation where they must participate in violent acts to get ahead.
But as I already pertained to in the beginning of this review, there’s other relationship dynamics to the couples which distract from what should be a suspenseful emotional filled tug of war.
Gavin and Missy’s only surface level camaraderie. Ted and Tatum’s bond as a couple and if they’re willing to go the extra mile to stick up for one another. Steven and Kiwi’s toxic and snide comments towards one another. Only so much time can be spent on those features when a feeling of desperation is the biggest draw for this type of movie.
The holiday theme can only be made to spread so wide when you’re sharing genre space with horror. During the whole episode if you will (ANPOW actually felt like a short movie), I was never drawn in so much as to believe anyone was in any real danger. Satire? Yes. Parody? Sure. KIll or be killed? No, not at all.
In this world, there were no real risks. Because of outside forces, the holiday bonus that was promised to the winner was going to be given out anyway under the table.
These are all the reasons why A Nasty Piece of Work deserves that name but for all the wrong reasons.