From the sinister minds that brought you The Purge, Happy Death Day and Paranormal Activity, comes the Hulu original horror series Into the Dark, which turns every holiday into a complete nightmare. The horror anthology series features different actors in each episode, with a new episode being released each month focusing on a holiday from that month.
The latest episode of Into the Dark is titled “A Nasty Piece of Work” and it is the second installment to focus on Christmas. If you’ve been following along with my reviews of this series, you know last year’s Christmas episode, “Pooka!,” has been my favorite of the series, so I came into this latest episode with some high expectations.
If you have enjoyed the sort of formula Into the Dark has been following for most of its episodes, get ready for “A Nasty Piece of Work” to shake things up. This installment most closely resembles episodes like “The Body” and “Down,” which blended elements of comedy with their horror. However, this one takes that concept to an entirely new level.
Last month, I was a bit tough on “Pilgrim” for being “too outside the box for me.” Well this most recent episode is outside the box in all the best ways possible. It is truly the most outrageous, unpredictable and completely unexpected episode of this series so far.
Now, I’m not saying this is the best episode of Into the Dark, but I might be saying it is the most fun. This is anything but an award-worthy horror film. Instead, it’s more of a slapstick horror-comedy that will have you simultaneously laughing hysterically and questioning every choice that’s being made. It’s far from a masterpiece but it’s one heck of a fun ride.
I’ll be honest, in the early going, I was not at all in the right mindset to enjoy “A Nasty Piece of Work.” Coming off of one of the creepiest and most uncomfortable episodes of the series, I was expecting more of the same. That is one of the great things about Into the Dark though. You never really know what you’re going to get.
Still, it’s safe to assume you’re going to get a horror story of some sort. I would actually classify this one as a comedy with horror elements. It took a while for that to click, and I was definitely puzzled for a good portion of it, but once I fully understood what was going on I was 100% on board for the ride.
The episode quickly introduces a handful of characters who behave and react to things completely irrationally and unbelievably. I found those ridiculous reactions to be annoying in the beginning, until they just became comical. Every decision was suddenly so far over the top that is just became hilarious.
Everything I said about the episode goes for the acting as well. Obviously, when the decision making was confusing me and taking me out of the story, the acting was as well. But once the comedy set in, the cast really hit its stride. Kyle Howard, who plays the protagonist Ted, may look like he’s doing his best impression of a confused Mark Wahlberg the entire time but he anchors the entire episode and allows the rest of the cast to play off of him. Dustin Milligan, who plays Ted’s rival, is particularly hilarious and manages to steal a few scenes. Especially when he puts on his suit of armor.
As far as gore goes, this one is mostly tame. Don’t get me wrong, it’s definitely violent and there is some blood, but compared to other episodes, this one is certainly easy to stomach. Besides, you’ll probably be laughing during some of those bloody scenes anyway. And as I’ve mentioned, this is anything but a true horror so don’t worry about losing any sleep.
Coming off of what I thought to be one of the weakest episodes of Into the Dark, “A Nasty Piece of Work” is probably one of the strongest. Again, it’s not going to wow you with an incredibly intricate story or an ending that will have you thinking about it a day later, but a drugged up man in a suit of armor clangs around in a vibrating massage chair while a very important discussion is taking place in the same room. And that’s pretty funny. By the way, it still doesn’t surpass “Pooka!,” but it is definitely a lot of fun.
“A Nasty Piece of Work” will debut on Hulu on Friday, December 6. Be sure to check out our reviews of previous episodes and check back each month to see just what Into the Dark has in store next..
Mike is a writer that has covered comic cons, theme park events, video game showcases and other fun events. He is a fan of theme parks, sports, movies, Marvel Comics and is a self-proclaimed “nerd.”