Worth Staying Up For This Creeping Horror | Late Night With the Devil Review

“That’s Not Something You See Everyday – Demonic Possession On Live TV!!”

Late Night With The Devil – the third film from Cameron and Colin Cairnes – takes obvious inspiration from the seminal (and controversial) BBC film Ghostwatch. However it doesn’t hide this influence, rather taking the right lessons from the broadcast that traumatised a generation.

The film opens with a voiceover explaining the backstory of Jack Delroy (David Dastmalchian). Jack’s late night variety chat show is a rival for Johnny Carson. Whilst Jack and his wife Madeline are seen in the media as examples of a loving couple, there are whispers about Jack’s involvement in a Bohemian Grove style Men’s club.

Madeline got cancer (as the 70s voiceover notes- despite being a non-smoker) and died. Jack took time off from the show during this difficult period. He returned to the show – but the ratings never recovered. With everything to lose Jack plans a controversial, sensationalist Halloween show where he will interview a psychic (Fayssal Bazzi), a sceptic (Ian Bliss) and a parapsychologist, Dr. June Ross-Mitchell (Laura Gordon). Dr. June has taken custody of Lilly (Ingrid Torelli), a young girl who was the only survivor of a “Satanic” church’s mass suicide (the film conflates “The Devil” with a figure from the Goetia). Dr. June claims she is possessed. 

The majority of the film then takes the form of the previously unseen broadcast tapes of the evening, with behind the scenes footage when they go to commercial break. This footage is brilliantly presented in the realistic television aspect ratio, complete with mysterious glitches. 


The film recalled, for me, not only Ghostwatch but the less seen WNUF Halloween Special. Much like the WNUF Halloween Special, Late Night With The Devil is less an attempt to fool the viewer that this “found footage” is real, and more a perfect simulacra of watching cheesy vintage TV at Halloween. Everything down to the music in the segments on the chat show are brilliantly evocative of the period, in particular the lurid shamelessness of late night chat shows during the “satanic panic” period. 

Dastmalchian has been a working character actor for over a decade, appearing in large films, notably the likes of The Suicide Squad and Dune. It is a pleasure to see him step up into a brilliant leading role, and one that allows him to demonstrate a warmth he rarely gets to show when cast as “creepy” or villainous characters. Every character, however, feels well drawn, from Delroy’s loveable band leader and sidekick Gus (Rhys Auteri) to Dr. June and Ingrid Torelli as Lili. 

The film is a slow-burn. Much like Ghostwatch the broadcast plods along, slowly dropping in hints that something more sinister is happening and as tensions grow amongst the crew. In its final act however the film more than earns this slow pace, delivering one of the best horror films in recent years.

Late Night With The Devil is currently streaming on Shudder.

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