‘Late Night With the Devil’ Delivers Gory Thrills and a Killer Lead Performance

It’s no ‘Ghostwatch,’ but it surely’s nonetheless price a watch.

Late Night With The Devil
By  · Published on March twenty first, 2024

Look, the horror style is stuffed with films that take the faux-documentary/discovered footage strategy and ship greatness — Ghostwatch (1992), Lake Mungo (2008), The Bay (2012), and Hell House LLC (2015) to call only a few — they usually work as a result of they decide to the bit. Too many, although, drop the ball by taking shortcuts, ignoring their very own premise, and giving in to the urge to make use of extra conventional strategies looking for thrills. Late Night With the Devil makes these errors (selections?) and suffers due to it, however fortunately it’s lifted up elsewhere because of the nice David Dastmalchian, some killer gore beats, and an entertainingly downbeat ending.

It’s 1977, and Jack Delroy’s (Dastmalchian) late night time speak present, Night Owls, is combating an uphill battle within the scores race towards The Tonight Show. Halloween lands throughout the networks’ sweeps week — the small window the place executives and advertisers lock into the best rated exhibits — and Delroy has stacked the night time’s episode hoping for a chillingly good time. A psychic and a debunker get into it first, however issues take a flip when a mystical researcher arrives with a younger teen woman who supposedly harbors a demon inside.

The premise behind Late Night With the Devil is ready forth in a gap montage narrated by Michael Ironside. He presents up a a quick have a look at Delroy’s rise within the business, arguably consists of method an excessive amount of data which ultimately undercuts later reveals, after which introduces the never-before-seen ultimate episode of Night Owls‘ live Halloween broadcast. Lose that montage and the film is far better off, but otherwise, so far so good.

Writers/directors Cameron Cairnes & Colin Cairnes make a real effort to capture the look and feel of a seventies talk show, for a little while at least, and that includes some smartly bold production design by Otello Stolfo. From the outfits and hair styles to the smoking and color choices, the effect works — until it doesn’t. For one factor, Night Owls is edited and shot with modern-day sensibilities like fast cuts, zooms, and extra that really feel woefully misplaced for the seventies. Worse, the present we’re watching, once more, ostensibly the precise reel full with time codes at both finish, switches to behind-the-scenes sequences the place we’re hard-pressed to consider each that cameras are current and that the characters would communicate in pure exposition.

I totally admit that the majority viewers gained’t give an excellent goddamn about this, and if that’s you then simply ignore that final paragraph and this one too. For the handful of us, although, who love when filmmakers arrange their faux-doc/ff parameters after which discover their chills, thrills, and enjoyable with out slipping freed from these constraints, Late Night With the Devil simply isn’t it.

That stated, the movie nonetheless manages greater than sufficient to warrant a watch as a few of its horror beats land fantastically and Dastmalchian is all the time a welcome expertise on display screen. Like most ff movies, the horrors come slowly with transient punctuations earlier than resulting in an enormous, bloody end. Those earlier moments are enjoyable sufficient, but it surely’s the third act fruits that really delivers with the gory items and a few memorable photos. CG tweaks are evident, however the sensible work shines by means of with some wildly entertaining acts of supernatural violence.

Through all of it, although, ups, downs, and every little thing in between, it’s Dastmalchian who carries Late Night With the Devil on his very succesful shoulders. There’s the anticipated exuberance of a late-night speak present host and the comedian supply of foolish jokes, however he additionally showcases one man’s rising realization that he’s messed issues up in an enormous, large method. Ambition is a hell of a drug, and we quickly uncover that his might need value him greater than an Emmy because the issues he’s misplaced outweigh those he hoped to achieve. That mixture of guilt and unhappiness makes for a compelling cocktail in a lead character who’s now going through some uncomfortable and unnatural truths.

Dastmalchian is the brilliant solar on the middle with a robust gravitational pull, however the remainder of the solid does high-quality work as effectively. Ian Bliss brings grand showmanship because the skeptic Carmichael Haig, and Rhys Auteri is the convincingly game-for-everything sidekick (till he’s not). Young Ingrid Torelli has the extra bodily demanding function of the presumably possessed Lilly, and he or she greater than acquits herself along with her creepy expressions and dedicated physicality.

Late Night With the Devil can’t match the highs of extra memorable faux-docs like those talked about on the high, and viewers searching for a greater, far scarier model of this could undoubtedly search out Ghostwatch, but it surely nonetheless finds its personal enjoyable. The hook works even when the execution stumbles, and together with some smile-inducing results work, Dastmalchian’s shift from acclaimed character actor to charismatic and fascinating main man is all the explanation you need to want to provide this one a spin.

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Rob Hunter has been writing for Film School Rejects since earlier than you had been born, which is bizarre seeing as he is so rattling younger. He’s our Chief Film Critic and Associate Editor and lists ‘Broadcast News’ as his favourite movie of all time. Feel free to say hello if you happen to see him on Twitter @FakeRobHunter.