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  • Writer's pictureAdam Williams

A Hooked On Horror Review: Late Night With The Devil

Managed to catch Late Night With the Devil in Odeon last week, and whilst it lived up to the hype I think seeing it in the cinema was a huge mistake. I’ll go more into the film in a minute (it was fantastic), but I feel that seeing it in the cinema had more of a detrimental effect on my overall viewing and experience of the film.

They fully lean into the TV aspect of the narrative and use it to their advantage, but that means it doesn’t make for great viewing when you’re sat in a huge cinema with a massive screen and surround sound. It felt out of place and lost a bit in the cinema, kind of felt wrong watching it there. Watch the film regardless, but I’d maybe urge you to wait until this one releases on Shudder April 19th.

Late Night With the Devil poster
“A live television broadcast in 1977 goes horribly wrong, unleashing evil into the nation’s living rooms.”

The film is great guys, easily one of the best possession films in more recent years. I wouldn’t go as far to say on par with Friedkin’s The Exorcist, but following closely behind. As I said above, the film makers really leaned into the ‘live television show’ aspect of this and absolutely nailed it. There’s even info-mercials and commercials littered throughout as well as the occasional glitch or bad reception to the picture to re-enforce this.

The entire 70s TV show aesthetic they really have perfected, which only added to it. Intercutting behind the scenes segments to continue the story as the show went to an ad break was a great choice, added a lot more and upped the tension for me personally. Seeing David Dastmalchian struggling to switch the presenter/showman side of his character off after getting horrendous news and dealing with personal and professional issues in between a live show was great.

David Dastmalchian in Late Night With the Devil

The cast were great, but for me personally Dastmalchian well and truly stole the show here. His performance was flawless. I’ve been following his career since I first saw him pop up as an Arkham inmate kidnapped by Harvey Dent in Christopher Nolan’s 2008 The Dark Knight, and he has come on leaps and bounds since. I’d say this is easily his strongest (and best) performance to date, and that’s saying something considering he’s had some great roles in some top-notch films- his performance in Prisoners is a close second, Last Voyage of the Demeter being third. He fully immerses himself in this role and it makes for an interesting watch, I felt a few times like I was watching a performance piece with him centre stage. There was a lot more going on than meets the eye with his character and he plays it perfectly.

Ian Bliss as Carmichael Haig was another that caught my eye. Plays the snobbish asshole sceptic so well, saw Agent Smith coming through once or twice which was cool to watch. Having him there as well allowed the film makers to play with audiences along under the pre-tense how much of what you’re seeing is fact and how much is fiction. There’s a phenomenal scene towards the end of the film where Haig hypnotises Gus (Rhys Auteri) and really messes with your head.

Late Night With the Devil still

The story is relatively straightforward, it feels like you’re watching a live television broadcast until the climax.That’s where things take a rather unusual turn and the film ventures into something completely different. It’s weird, disturbing, macabre and just crazy enough that it works so well. That’s probably the only spoiler I am going to give you, so enjoy! It’s a slow burn and very reminiscent (and respectful) of its predecessors. You get little snippets of horror as events and activity within on the show starts small and gets progressively worse the longer the film continues. Of course it all comes to a big finale where shit really hits the fan.

The film touches on how Jack Delroy rose to fame and has enjoyed as much success as he has to date, which is where one of my issues with the film lies. Again I can’t go into detail and I hate spoilers, but I just think it was a bit of a missed opportunity. Perhaps that’s something they can explain in another film or a spin-off of this, regardless there’s a lot of questions I would love to getanswers for. But, at the same time is it better that we were only allowed so much information? That way the audience can fill in the blanks with whatever weird, wonderful and downright disturbing explanation they want (which can often be worse than whatever the film maker comes up with).

Ingrid Torelli in Late Night With the Devil

Overall folks this is a fantastic horror film and should be regarded as one of the best possession films for a long time. I did get excited at the prospect of new Exorcist films, but we all know how Believer turned out. As I said above, I’d place this amongst the greats like The Exorcist, The Omen, The Amityville Horror, The Conjuring, Prince of Darkness, Hereditary and The Exorcism of Emily Rose. Make time to watch this one, but definitely wait for home release. I can imagine it’s going to be even better watching it as intended.

Late Night With the Devil is currently in cinemas, will be available on Shudder from April 19th 2024.


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