Late Night with the Devil (2024)

by | Mar 31, 2024 | Movie Reviews, New In Theaters | 0 comments

Late Night with the Devil is a captivating and paranormal peek into a fictitious late-night host’s warped reality while taping a horrifying Halloween special. Taking audiences back to a time where the television was a vessel for the unseen, this is a story of the horrifying things we began to see broadcast around the world as a spotlight was finally shone on all the sick and twisted people out there. As a nation grew more aware of occult and satanist groups in the country, the fear of the devil spread wide and far as people bore witness to unspeakable crimes. Now, imagine those same people sit down for late night television expecting comedy, only to find horror and the unthinkable…

Late Night With the Devil

Jack Delroy (David Dastmalchian) is the host of Night Owls, a 1970’s Late Night Talk Show that finds itself unable to reach the number one spot held by Johnny Carson. Over the course of years that he spent trying anything to get the ratings he desired, Jack Delroy sacrificed a lot and even lost his beloved wife along the way. Now, everything rests on a daring Halloween Special and a vast array of paranormal guests that proves to be unlike anything seen on Television before, including a young girl who just might be possessed by the devil itself.

Blurring the lines between archival and behind the scenes footage, Late Night with the Devil immediately draws you in with an old school documentary voiceover detailing the life of Jack Delroy and how he got his start hosting. Usually, I’m not too fond of narration doing the heavy lifting, however I felt it was appropriate in the way the story was being revealed and it preps you for how a live late-night show would play out. By the time we’re viewing this hidden Halloween episode there’s a sense of familiarity with Delroy’s timing and comedy, combined with some intimate knowledge of his personal life and tragedies. Almost immediately it feels like we can trust him, and you understand why an audience would tune in to watch him.

In what is surprisingly his first leading role, David Dastmalchian completely captivates in a performance that hangs on his small and frantic reactions to what he can’t explain around him. As the show’s host he maintains great composure amid battling guests and trying to keep things honest with his audience. There’s a sincerity that’s almost sad to how badly he wants to be at the top of the ratings because you can slowly see what it has cost him as the twisted film progresses. As we see the panic begin to take over, Dastmalchian begins to unravel and it’s fascinating to see him completely morph as his inner demons begin to reveal themselves. Had the film allotted a bit more time to explore Delroy’s questionable past, I think where it heads in the end would’ve paid off far more.

From a production standpoint the film totally captures the look and feel of older studio sets and the accompanying band and crew that come with them. With a dopey announcer bouncing news and silly jokes off Delroy, the whole Nite Owl set feels completely believable and becomes more immersive as the devilish guests continue their acts. While there has been minor controversy of an AI generated image used in the film as a cue card transition, it’s not the detractor that most are making it out to be and is gone in a flash before you can really notice. Granted, it should’ve just been drawn and replaced, however I don’t think people need to crucify and boycott this film because of it. That does a great disservice to the clear number of hours spent building and painting this retro studio.

Late Night with the Devil plays with the audience’s mind as much as it does the mind of those in the actual studio audience. There are many moments I found myself uncertain of what has really happened and what may be just some sick fantasy. The message at the root of the film is steeped in caution as it discusses what lengths we’ll go to for recognition and how careful we need to be when dealing with selling our souls to success. You never know just how the devil may reveal itself to you, but you ought to also be aware that there are many deceivers out there praying on feeble minds. For fans of horror and the supernatural this film is sure to pique you interest and may only leave you slightly curious as you long for just a bit more to this spooky story.

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