We are then transported to the office holiday party, where Essex announces there will be no bonuses of any kind given to anyone in the office this year. Both Ted and Gavin look devastated. However, when Ted’s anger drives him to the point where he might push Essex off a balcony, he is informed that a new executive position might be opening up and invites Ted and his wife Tatum (Angela Sarafyan) to his home.
Upon arriving at the Essex mansion, Ted and Tatum see that they weren’t the only ones invited to the party. Gavin and his wife, Missy (Natalie Hall), arrive seconds later in Gavin’s Porsche. Ted is none too pleased to see Gavin there and vice versa. Once the two couples are welcomed into the extremely opulent Essex home, we meet Steven’s wife, Kiwi (Molly Hagan), who is quite a handful herself. It’s not long after all the characters are introduced that we realize this isn’t a typical dinner. This is a sadistic game to see who is the best man for the job that no one can be sure actually exists.
“The setting is perfect for these kinds of demented mind games…depicted being played by the ultra-rich.”
The setting is perfect for these kinds of demented mind games that are often depicted being played by the ultra-rich. Production Designer Ashley Swanson did an excellent job of making sure much of the decor could be weaponized, while still remaining stunningly beautiful. The editing, particularly in the opening credits, is excellent, and of course, I can’t fail to mention Paul Soter’s hilarious, surprising script.
Additionally, with a film that is mostly set in one location, a director must get the best performances possible out of the cast to keep everything fresh and interesting. Charles Hood does well in this department, bringing unexpected range out of actors we’ve seen in all sorts of movies and television prior to Nasty Piece of Work. Molly Hagan is darkly delightful as Kiwi, giving a stand-out performance, although no one’s role necessarily shrinks into the background either. Everyone gets their chance to do something crazy and to possibly redeem themselves as well.
I really enjoyed Pooka, Into the Dark‘s Christmas entry from last year, but I’d have to say if I were to choose between that and Nasty Piece of Work, I would pick the latter. It’s a whip-smart, hilarious dark horror-comedy that serves as a commentary on mega-millionaires and the people who so desperately want to become them. Do yourself a favor, if you’re getting sick of Rudolph and Frosty, turn on Nasty Piece of Work if you’re feeling grinchy this holiday season. It’s bound to bring you out of your holiday funk, if only because you’re not one of the players in the twisted game you get to watch it unfold.
"…a commentary on mega-millionaires and the people who so desperately want to become them."