Late Night with the Devil Review

Reviews Films


“In 1977 a live television broadcast goes horribly wrong, unleashing evil into the nation’s living rooms.”

The premise for Late Night with the Devil is simple. Struggling late night television presenter Jack Delroy (David Dastmalchian – Suicide Squad, Dune Part One) attempts to boost ratings by invoking a demon live on late night TV.

The execution is a little more complex and this is where the film shines. Taking a new angle on the found footage film, Late Night presents itself as a recovered master recording of live television. The attention to detail from directors Cameron and Colin Cairnes effortlessly transports us back to 1977. From the set design, costumes and styling to the 4:3 aspect ratio and low resolution broadcast.

The film opens re-introducing us to an America in the grip of serial killers, class riots and satanic panic. Accompanied by narration that is a little too lengthy and exposition heavy. However the use of an instantly recognisable and well respected genre veteran to set the scene is sugar for the ears and an inspired choice.

Late Night also makes use of short black and white behind the scenes clips to connect broadcast footage and propel the story. It’s clunky, but does the job, providing much needed moments of characterisation and plot bread crumbs. Which leads to an explosive, unexpectedly cosmic climax.

It’s this climax that derails things a little. The aforementioned bread crumbs set up a somewhat predictable eleventh hour twist, which isn’t fully paid off. Instead, surrealism and dreams within dreams leave things ambiguous. However, certainly not unenjoyable.

Dastmalchian’s performance as the desperate showman elevates the film and is worth the price of admission. Worthy of recognition, Dastmalchian has been chewing the scenery in small supporting parts for years. It’s not his first lead role, but great to see him take centre stage in a more accessible and widely promoted film.

Australian horror films seem to be taking the world by storm of late, and we’re all here for it. Late Night with the Devil was shot in Melbourne, 2023. The project has courted some controversy with the use of three AI generated images. The team has since clarified that while AI generated the images, they were later edited and fixed up by members of the production team. This should settle the ethics discussion, considering the images are still the product of someone’s creative work.

In short, Late Night with the Devil is an enjoyable demon possession flick. The film lands more successfully than other recent demonic tales such as Exorcist Believer and The Pope’s Exorcist. Though it is fair to say that Late Night is trying to be neither of those. Which is for the best.

It’s an easy 7/10 mouthy sceptics. Get on it from 11th April, Night Owls!

Luke is writing short stories, screenplays and film reviews when he's not at the day job or looking after the needs of his family. So one Powerball...