The Consultant TV Review


Christoph Waltz plays a malevolent boss in Prime Video’s psychological thriller from the creator of Servant and the director of WandaVision

Plot: When a new consultant, Regus Patoff, is hired to improve the business at the App-based gaming company “CompWare,” employees experience new demands and challenges that puts everything into question… including their lives.

Review: Fans of horror fiction are familiar with author Bentley Little, but mainstream audiences are not. The prolific author has published more than 25 novels. Only one of his short stories has been adapted to screen (“The Washingtonians”) was an episode in the anthology series Masters Of Horror). Now, his 2016 novel The Consultant has become a Prime Video series from the creative team of Tony Basgallop (AppleTV+ series Servant) and director Matt Shakman (WandaVision). Christoph Waltz plays the title role of The Consult. It is equal parts Severanceand The Devil’s Advocate. The The Consultantis a workplace satire that blends horror, psychological thriller and dark comedy. However, it doesn’t quite live up to its potential, but it leaves the door open for future seasons. The first season of

The Consultant takes place at CompWare, a fictional video game company. Young mogul Sang (Brian Yoon), dies in a shocking manner. CompWare’s employees are confused and unsure of what to do. The mysterious Regus Patoff (Christoph Waltz), arrives and takes over the vacant leadership position. Patoff is a strange man who smells employees and makes bizarre demands. He also struggles to climb stairs. He is a charismatic leader who charms some employees while terrifying others. Executive assistant Elaine (Brittany O’Grady), and programmer Craig, (Nat Wolff), begin to investigate Regus Patoff and uncover more questions than answers. As the story progresses towards the inevitable reveal of the consultant’s true identity, the mystery grows deeper and more unusual occurrences are revealed. The series’ focus is primarily on Patoff and Craig, but there is also a significant supporting role for Aimee Carero (The Menu) as Craig’s fiancee, Patti.

The eight-episode initial season of The Consultant10 challenges the hour-long drama series format. Instead of being in one-hour episodes, the series unfolds in half-hour episodes. Each chapter ran for only 100101010Servant and allowed the chapters to build momentum while keeping it tight wound. There is a surreal feel to this series that is reminiscent of both Servant and Severance but also the supernatural menace of The Devil’s Advocate and the psychological mind games of Mr. Robot. A subtle undercurrent of humor and comedy underneath this story keeps it unsettlingly shifting between making people laugh and making them feel uncomfortable. Christoph Waltz’s performance is the key to all of this. Waltz is synonymous with portraying bad guys and monsters. Regus Patoff may be the best example of Waltz’s ability to play characters that are both uncomfortably serious and funny. At times you wonder if Patoff is a demon or the devil himself, and other times he seems like he may be the worst boss since Michael Scott.

With slight changes to the source material,

The Consultant is designed as a multi-season story rather than a limited event series. It is important to know that the ending might not tie everything up in a neat bow before you start watching this series. I was prepared for Waltz to lead the show, but I was surprised by the performances of the other lead actors. Brittany O’Grady gave a solid performance on the first season The White Lotus. She shares the protagonist role with Nat Wolff. O’Grady portrays Elaine, a woman who strives for success but is unable to make the right decisions that will damage her professional and personal integrity. Nat Wolff is able to experience a horror journey that echoes his brother Alex’s performance in Hereditary. Although the series is not exactly the same horror as Ari Aster’s movie, there are some similarities. Aimee Carrero also does a great job in a smaller, but crucial role that ties into he finale.Tony Basgallop was the writer of all eight episodes in

The Consultant. However, directing duties were split between five directors. Matt Shakman directed the premiere episode while Karyn Kusama handled the finale. Alexis Ostander and Dab Attias each directed two episodes. All three kept the CompWare office’s sinister appearance and surreal hidden rooms a constant, while Charlotte Brandstrom focused on the descent into madness that all the characters endure. The score by Jeff Russo is equal measures playful and uncomfortable, which Christoph Waltz exudes throughout this entire season. I was left wondering where the story was going in each chapter after moments of dread. The novel’s story is largely the same as the book. However, Basgallop has created a larger narrative that could be extended over multiple seasons. Each season will have its own story elements and will leave you wondering until the end. Christoph Waltz’s devilish and playful performance is what I love. Brittany O’Grady, Nat Wolff and their portrayals of characters in trouble are all wonderful. This story isn’t as scary as it could have been, and some will be disappointed. Still, I really love that between this series, Severance

and Servant, we have entered into a new era of psychological thriller stories that weave anxiety, dread, and paranoia into must-see television. While The Consultant could do a lot more in subsequent seasons to deliver answers to what is going on this season, the setup is intriguing enough to make me want to come back for more.The Consultant premieres on February 24th on Prime Video.


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