How to Become a Cult Leader review: A fresh look at some popular cults

How to Become a Cult Leader breaks down the success and tactics of some popular cult leaders to introduce viewers to the perfect guide for starting a cult. The series is now streaming on Netflix.


How to Become a Cult Leader promises the viewers that they can attain unconditional love, endless devotion, and the power to control the minds and bodies of the people if they follow their playbook.

The playbook comes packed with a series of tactics used by aspiring cult leaders who turned themselves from mere mortals to gods. It has six different chapters, starting off with reinventing oneself, something Charles Manson did to gain a cult following.

Reverend Jim Jones’ tactics teach one how to grow their following. The tactics of Jaime Gomez, the leader of the Buddhafield, show how to mold a person into someone who wants to be part of your cult.

Marshall Applewhite and Bonnie Nettles earned decades of devotion by instilling fear in their followers’ minds and claiming that only they can promise eternity.

The tricks of Shoko Asahara demonstrate how to make the best use of the media and get away from anything if you have the right PR Plan. Lastly, unlike most cults that die, the plans of Sun Myung Moon promise that one can keep their cult alive long after they are dead.


How to Become a Cult Leader strictly sticks to the idea it presents in its title. All six thirty-minute episodes are dedicated to studying what traits of cult leaders made them big rather than who they are and where they come from, which is primarily the focus of true crime documentaries.

This perspective allows the show to be about the people who are drawn to these cults. The show becomes more of an answer to why human beings give in to these cults in the first place.

The docuseries certainly follows a step-by-step guide for the rules it is laying out as well as the figures the viewers will be studying. It starts off with the small cult of Charles Manson, then slowly introduces the bigger cults until the end.

When explaining a certain tactic, the documentary gives examples of similar ones used by some other popular cult leader other than the one the episode is focused on, establishing how cults work similarly.

The documentary series is filled with incredible archival footage that takes the viewer back in time. If there is no footage, the show uses video from another form of media to explain its point.

Some of the stories of the cult leaders are brought to life through some beautiful noir-esque animation. Lastly, Peter Dinklage narrates the tactics of the cult leaders and their trajectory with sass.


In some places, How to Become a Cult Leader is sarcastic and downright funny. It does leave a smile on a viewer’s face. However, it happens rarely and could have been welcomed more.


With six episodes running for around 30 minutes, How to Become a Cult Leader is a very short yet informative watch that is more focused on how a cult can be immensely successful.

It is still a scary watch considering the era humans are living in, where social media can easily allow someone to be big if they follow these tactics carefully.

How to Become a Cult Leader
How to Become a Cult Leader review: A fresh look at some popular cults 1

Director: Tim Rauch, Greg Franklin, Ron Myrick

Date Created: 2023-07-28 12:30

Editor's Rating:

Also Read: The King Who Never Was review: Notable story isn’t all that engaging

More from The Envoy Web