In its second season, the comedy The Cultists continues to follow Mike (Peter Swanson), Ben (Glenn Payne), Dave (Leon Skye), and Rob (Dax Rocker) in their dedication as modern-day cultists. They worship “Elder Gods” and, on occasion, they try to summon their demigod “Cthulhu.” If none of this registers, it doesn’t matter because the web series is hilarious and on point, especially for all of us obsessed with a passion that no one cares about but you and your small circle of believers. It’s a celebration of geekdom and obsession but with a lot of character and a sense of familiarity. Director Brianna da Silva’s mockumentary style is appreciated for its attention to detail from background to foreground. It never misses a beat.
Created in the vein of many modern comedies, The Cultists breaks from the story for commentary — think of The Office or Modern Family. This format serves the show in the best way because the characters and situations become relatable to just about anyone. If you are familiar with the works of HP Lovecraft, much of the content will seem recognizable but with many jabs to the occult and worshipping demons. However, it’s not a prerequisite. Also, because it is a web series, you can watch both seasons in the time it would take to view a feature-length film.
“…the boys and their cohorts have such dedication to their cult that it’s hard to peel away from it.”
In the first episode of the second season, Rob becomes an amphibian, explaining the fish that is part of his headband and why he is draped in a toga and carries a trident shaft, like Poseidon. Rob is dedicated to his cultist being. Watching him pour through photo albums with odd recollections of “water” creations as family members to serious Dungeon and Dragon games, he takes his amphibious existence seriously. His friends feel he’s taken his obsession a bit too far. But, as he says, “it’s all cultist, all the time.” Meanwhile, Mike has a strange facial abrasion, which looks like branding.
Living in a world that most people don’t understand but love to talk about, the boys and their cohorts have such dedication to their cult that it’s hard to peel away from it. Everything in The Cultists is slightly off and awkward, which is part of its appeal. Well, that and that it takes place in suburban Alabama — another funny point for a bible belt existence.
The worship and summoning dark gods present throughout The Cultists may not be for everyone, but calling a character out for his bizarreness in an already strange scenario is very funny, even if the Esoteric Order of Dagon has no meaning to you. If it does, there’s the bonus of more profound humor.
The first season of The Cultists can be seen on YouTube and season two on Vimeo.
"…slightly off and awkward, which is part of its appeal."