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Home > Late Night with the Devil (2024): A Review

Late Night with the Devil (2024): A Review

David Dastmalchian asJack Delroy in "Late Night With The Devil" (2024) Image courtesy of IFC Films and Shudder

Where Jimmy Fallon Meets AI and Lucifer

IFC Films and Shudder recently released their new comedic horror film, Late Night with the Devil, to theaters on March 20, 2024. The found footage film, written and directed by Cameron and Colin Cairnes, follows Jack Delroy (played by David Dastmalchian) as he desperately tries to boost the ratings of his late-night talk show through cultish means. 

While the film incorporates many horror tropes, the stylistic choice to follow found footage of a late-night TV show was a fascinating and refreshing venture. 

Plot 

Late Night with the Devil begins with a documentary-style introduction on Jack’s failing show, “Night Owls with Jack Delroy” as well as the death of his wife and the suspicion of his involvement with cults. Though the documentary style doesn’t return for the rest of the film, it adopts a found footage/behind-the-scenes format that is reminiscent of works like The Blair Witch Project and The Office

The film flips back and forth from the campiness of a ‘70s television show to the deep-set unease that something is wrong that leads the audience into uncertainty.

The film then follows Jack as he interviews guests with varying viewpoints on the supernatural and the occult. What starts as typical sideshow magic turns quickly into a desperate and uncomfortable way for Jack to raise his ratings and possibly reconnect with his deceased wife. 

Unfortunately, to most of the crew and live audience’s dismay, the unseen forces become very real very fast. The guests of the show included a psychic, a former magician turned skeptic, a parapsychologist, and a young survivor of a cult’s mass suicide who can call a demon to possess her at will. 

It almost feels at first like the movie is diving straight forward into a typical possession story, but each scene ends up raising more questions than answers. Despite a death occurring during the filming of the episode, Jack pursues the dangerous antics that rip the studio apart. 

Altogether, the film portrays typical horror themes of demonic possession and ghosts but is portrayed in such a way that it doesn’t feel like a typical horror film. With a runtime of an hour and twenty-six minutes, the movie keeps a steady beat of tension and events until the last ten minutes or so which portray a bombardment of clips that didn’t add much to the film that we hadn’t already learned.

Characters/Acting 

Smaller-budget films like this one sometimes lead to poor casting choices. However, Late Night with the Devil was a sigh of relief as the cast was nothing short of realistic. 

The live audience felt like regular people, the crew of the show were hectic as if they actually worked in the show for a living, the guests felt authentic to their titles, and David Dastmalchian played a very convincing role as a talk show host with desperate and immoral motives. The cast truly captured the energy of a live TV special more than it did actors pretending to be TV personalities.

Rhys Auteri plays Gus McConnell, Jack’s loveable co-host who becomes uncomfortable early on from Jack’s bits. Where Jack was obviously up to no good, Gus was an obviously innocent who looked like he needed a good hug and a Disney movie. As far as guests go, Fayssal Bazzi plays Christou, a psychic who sincerely feels as though he’s popped out of the time period. His odd quirks and deep belief in the supernatural help set the stage for the rest of what is an odd movie. 

Ian Bliss plays the very frustrating Carmichael the Conjurer, a former magician and hypnotist turned skeptic who interjects himself into conversations at any opportunity. Then lastly were Laura Gordon and Ingrid Torelli who played the parapsychologist Dr. June Ross-Mitchel and the cult survivor and possessed child, Lilly D’Abo. The two of them fully committed to their strange characters that seemed like something out of Poltergeist. Overall, the cast did a great job of helping the audience feel immersed in an existence where Jack’s show really existed.

Ingrid Torelli as Lily, ,Rhy Auteri as Gus Mcconnell, as David Dastmalchian as Jack Delroy, Laura Gordon as June Ross-Mitchell and Steve Mouzakis as Szandor D'Abo in "Late Night With The Devil" (2024) Image courtesy of IFC Films and Shudder

Cinematography/Aesthetic

The film held a strong resemblance to classic shows of the ‘70s such as The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson which Jack actually rivals in the movie. The film was in an almost constant state of old film grain and soft focus, brightened by the blinding lights and colors of a ‘70s TV show set. 

Despite a series of odd and rushed cuts at the end of the film, much of the film’s pacing and camerawork felt natural. The movie heavily used a found footage style of cinematography, though it was an odd choice that the documentary-style intro to the film was never brought back. It was also peculiar that though much of the film revolved around found footage, it would also cut to moments that the camera did not catch such as behind the set between Jack and his manager.

Overall it didn’t throw off the vibe of the film, and this film truly was something refreshingly unique, but the back-and-forth felt like the movie itself didn’t know what it wanted to be.

The usage of soft focus and film grain seemed to enhance the little bits of CGI used for this smaller-budget indie film. Though the usage of cgi wasn’t anything exciting, the sparingness of it and the gritty fog of the camera made it look more realistic than it would have without it. 

However, it is not the creative use of physical effects and CGI that had recently hit audiences’ attention but the use of AI that had been released right as the film hit theaters. The Cairnes brothers informed Variety on March 21, 2024, that they had used AI in production before the 2023 strikes for three title cards. 

Though the usage of AI was little and the title cards used could’ve been left out of the movie entirely, it has resurfaced the debate on the morality surrounding AI being used.

Final Rating 

Overall, Late Night with the Devil was a new and unique film which is something that Hollywood has simply not released much of lately. With the budget it had and the expectations leading to it, the film was a surprisingly great time regardless of a tad rushed ending.

Regrettably, the craft of the film was overshadowed in the news by the usage of AI that had come out after the film’s release. Despite this, the film did truly give a fun and spooky experience that most horror lovers would find enjoyable. Late Night with the Devil will be in theaters until the middle of April 2024 where it will then move to streaming through Shudder on April 19, 2024.

Though the supernatural may or may not be real, the film leaves one to wonder just how far show business might go for personal gain. One thing is for sure, viewers will never see James Corden or Seth Myers the same way again.

Ingrid Torelli as Lilly and Laura Gordon as June Ross-Mitchell in in "Late Night With The Devil" (2024) Image courtesy of IFC Films and Shudder

“Late Night With the Devil” Official IFC Films Trailer

Source: Dead Talk Live

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With a bachelor's degree in Film and Media Studies from Arizona State University, Ashley has a passion for the history of filmmaking and how audiences share a relationship with publicized media. Her love for the horror genre as well as feminist themes runs deep.

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Omid Rad is a freelance writer, movie lover and overall geek.