Ansel Roth (Leland Orser) is a cult specialist who's career saw a sharp decline just before the release of his second book. When he's approached by a married couple who fear their daughter Claire (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) has been brainwashed by the recently emerged cult "Faults," Ansel decides to attempt the risky process of deprogramming her in an attempt to earn enough money to pay back his former manager of ten years who's just dropped him as a client. Things slowly spiral out of control from there.
- Arc Words: "I have free will."
- Asshole Victim: The crony who slaps Claire during her kidnapping is referred to at the end as "having been dealt with" by the cult.
- The Atoner: Ansel uses the excuse of free will to deflect blaming himself for Jennifer's death.
- The Chessmaster: The end reveals that Claire, known within Faults as Ira, orchestrated the events of the movie to convert Ansel to the cult.
- Deadpan Snarker: This is how Ansel behaves throughout the first act, though he dials it back once he's working again.
- Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: A few things happen with Claire that seem hard to explain other than ambiguous supernatural interference, such as when she appears unconscious outside of the hotel room after the night she spends with her parents. This is later explained to be all part of Faults plan to assimilate Ansel, though there still remains the question as to why Mick doesn't see Ansel in the bathroom when he comes to collect the remainder of his money, or whether or not Ansel really stepped out of his body and unlocked the bathroom door or if it was just the other cult members from the outside.
- Never My Fault: Ansel uses free will as a way to deflect blame for his own influence over Jennifer's suicide. He later admits that this is just a way to ease his own conscience.
- Nosebleed: Happens spontaneously to Ansel throughout the movie.
- Precision F-Strike: Ansel receives one from a random audience member while trying to give his presentation in the opening act.
- Sanity Slippage: Ansel slowly comes more and more unwound as the movie progresses to the point where Faults successfully convince him to join their cause.
- Sophomore Slump: Terry, Ansel's former agent, berates him for allowing his ex-wife to take the right to Ansel's book in settlement of their divorce since the book was his only source of income and covered all the bases that his second book could only retread.
- Stepford Snarker: Life has been so bad to Ansel that he starts off the movie incredibly defensive at the respect he's lost over the course of his career. He admits towards the end, however, that claiming the girl he exploited for ratings took her life out of her own free will is just a way to deflect accepting his own role in her death.
- Title Drop: The movie gets its name from Claire's cult. It also refers to how the group exploits Ansel's faults to win him over.