Late Night with the Devil Lives up to the Hype

Courtesy of IFC Films and Shudder. An IFC Films and Shudder release.

I’ve been aching to see Late Night with the Devil for a while now. I first got wind of the film when it was making its rounds on the festival circuit last year, and the positive buzz it garnered made it an absolute must-watch for me. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to catch it at any of the festivals I covered, so when I heard that it was finally getting a public release, I jumped at the chance to review it. I requested a screener as soon as I could, and after finally sitting down to see it, I’m happy to report that it does not disappoint.

Late Night with the Devil was written, directed, and edited by siblings Cameron and Colin Cairnes, and it stars David Dastmalchian, Laura Gordon, Ian Bliss, Fayssal Bazzi, Ingrid Torelli, and Rhys Auteri. The movie is set on Halloween night in 1977, and it centers around Jack Delroy, the host of a late-night talk show called Night Owls with Jack Delroy. He dreams of rising to the top and overtaking Johnny Carson as America’s most successful late-night host, but his show is currently in a slump.

He’s desperate to increase his viewership any way he can, so on one fateful night, he plans a show like no other. He invites a medium, a debunker of paranormal phenomena, a parapsychologist, and a supposedly possessed girl for an episode centered around real-life claims of the supernatural, and as you can probably guess, he soon finds out that there are forces in this world beyond human understanding.

I don’t know about you, but I think that’s an awesome premise for a horror film, and thankfully, the execution here is totally up to par. For starters, we have the retro aesthetic. Everything from the decor to the fashion to star David Dastmalchian’s sideburns is spot-on, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

A man screaming
Courtesy of IFC Films and Shudder. An IFC Films and Shudder release.

See, Late Night with the Devil doesn’t just look like it takes place in the 1970s. It looks like it was made back then too. Most notably, the movie has the kind of soft, grainy picture we often see in older movies, and there are even some old-school practical effects that are sure to put a smile on the face of any longtime genre veteran.

On top of that great look, Late Night with the Devil also features a bunch of excellent performances. Everybody in the movie is great, but there’s one actor who’s head and shoulders above the rest: David Dastmalchian. He plays Jack Delroy, and he completely transforms into this character. When the camera is rolling, he has the kind of effortless charm all late-night hosts need, and there are even a number of times when he exhibits a touching vulnerability as well.

But when the show goes to a commercial break and we get a sneak peek at what this guy is like behind the scenes, Jack is a very different person. The polished charisma that made him a star disappears almost entirely, and he turns into a tenacious and somewhat selfish go-getter who’s not averse to pushing people a bit too far to get what he wants.

It’s almost like Jack is two different people, and David Dastmalchian nails both of them. He’s completely believable whether the camera is on or off, and that fantastic performance is the heart and soul of Late Night with the Devil. Dastmalchian makes you want to watch this guy no matter what’s happening on screen, so you can’t help but enjoy the ride every step of the way.

A man and a woman with a possessed girl
Courtesy of IFC Films and Shudder. An IFC Films and Shudder release.

And speaking of things going south, Late Night with the Devil also has some super fun horror, but don’t go into this film expecting chills and thrills every few minutes. For most of its runtime, we only get bits and pieces of horror here and there, so up until the last 15 minutes or so, there aren’t any long stretches of sustained terror.

It’s somewhat of a slow burn in that sense, but in my opinion, it’s perfectly paced. The scares come frequently enough to whet our appetites and make us curious about what’s really going on, but they’re also sparse enough that we never quite feel satisfied (and I mean that in a good way!). The movie keeps us wanting more until the very end, and when that end comes, it totally delivers.

The last 15 minutes or so of Late Night with the Devil get pretty crazy, so they’re 100% worth the wait. In particular, there are some awesome gore effects in this part of the film, and the finale wraps up the story really nicely. It makes sense of a few hidden (and some not-so-hidden) clues scattered throughout the previous 75 minutes, but it doesn’t just spoon-feed us what we need to know. The movie trusts that its viewers will be smart enough to connect the dots themselves, and I, for one, really appreciated that.

In case you couldn’t tell, I had an absolute blast with Late Night with the Devil. It features excellent acting, some amazing horror, and a convincing 1970s aesthetic, so this is the rare film that lives up to the hype. It’s pretty much everything I wanted it to be, and if this sounds like something you’d enjoy, I think you’ll love it just as much as I did.

Late Night with the Devil is set to hit theaters on March 22, and it’ll be available to stream via Shudder on April 19.


You Might Also Enjoy:

BUFF24: Fatal Termination’s Stunts Leave Your Jaw on the Floor

Exhuma Shows Why Some Secrets Should Stay Buried

Love Lies Bleeding Proves That Rose Glass Is No One-Hit Wonder

Written by JP Nunez

JP Nunez is a lifelong movie fan, and his favorite genres are horror, superheroes, and giant monsters. You can find him on Twitter @jpnunezhorror.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

A woman clings to the hood of a car as an arm holds up a child by the hair out the window in Fatal Termination

BUFF24: Fatal Termination’s Stunts Leave Your Jaw on the Floor

Nuns surround a veiled woman standing in a gold gown with a blue cloth over her and a golden crown of flowers stands before an altar in a cathedral

BUFF24: Holy Mother! Sydney Sweeney is Divine in Immaculate