Late Night With The Devil Review

Late Night With The Devil Review

By Kevin Hoskinson
Entertainment Editor

A few years back, I watched a film called Ghostwatch. It had been on my radar for a long time, but the opportunity to finally watch it presented itself when my wife and kids were out of town for the evening. Ghostwatch is a British mocumentaty that aired on Halloween night in 1992 across the pond. What put it into the zeitgeist was that it was aired as a live event, prompting almost a million phone calls to the BBC switchboard, with some complaining about the broadcast and some praising it. Much like Orson Welles’ War Of The Worlds broadcast in 1938, it caused a wave of panic among unsuspecting viewers who thought what they were witnessing was real.

Needless to say, none of it was real. There were no supernatural events and everybody involved in the broadcast were actors. Upon watching the movie by myself at night with all the lights off, I was struck by how terrifying and authentic the movie felt. I felt the hair on the back of my neck stand up, and it felt like I was watching a piece of forbidden media. Even behind some of the outdated dialogue and aesthetic, it was effective, and I was left super impressed by what was accomplished. I bring Ghostwatch up because Late Night With The Devil had the same effect on me.

I’m a sucker for movies that have a cool premise and swing for the fences. There’s nothing better than a film that takes chances and fully embraces what it is. This is one of those films. It takes place in the 70s and follows talk show host Jack Delroy (David Dastmalchian) as he struggles to become the late-night king alongside Johnny Carson. His ratings are horrible, and he is willing to do anything to get to the top. On a live broadcast on Halloween night, he books parapsychologist and author June Ross-Mitchell (Laura Gordon) and one of her patients, a possibly demonically possessed girl named Lilly (Ingrid Torelli). What we see is the “real” footage from that horrific night and the truth of what happened.

What blows me away is that it feels like it was made in the 70’s and for the 70’s. There are some CGI effects, but they are purposefully made to look like they were from that era, a bit cheesy and unpolished. For the most part, though, filmmakers Colin and Cameron Cairnes choose to go the practical route, which lends to the authenticity. The film is presented like a late-night talk show in real-time, with commercial breaks. We sit through the opening monologue, and he brings on his guests. During the commercial breaks, we are in the studio as they rush to freshen up make-up and deal with drama behind the scenes. It is also formatted as a box as opposed to full widescreen, giving the effect that it’s being shown on an old television set. Everything about it feels right at home in the time period, including the look of the film itself.

As cool as that stuff is, it’s the amazing performances and tension that builds throughout that are the real winners. David Dastmalchian has had an interesting career so far, making his feature film debut in The Dark Knight and being the “hey, it’s that guy!” guy in a bunch of movies, but this is his shining moment. He and Rhys Auteri, who plays his sidekick Gus, have amazing chemistry and completely disappear into their roles. It’s awe-inspiring how dedicated they are to bringing this world to life in such a realistic way. Within the chaos, there are charming moments between them and Jack and his guests that make you understand why he should be a bigger star than he is. The story unfolds as each guest comes on his show before we get to the main event. Each one brings a new layer, and by the time we get to June and Lilly, things are already starting to go off the rails. It’s a slow burn, but with each passing minute, the tension builds until it reaches its wild climax.

I honestly can’t recommend Late Night With The Devil enough. While there are some jump scares throughout, that’s not what this movie is, and the cast and crew know it. It’s a psychological horror movie that completely leans into its premise and doesn’t compromise its integrity. In a world where the proven formula is the way to go, it’s nice to see people still taking chances. As a horror fan, it was refreshing and a lot of fun. Certainly, check it out.

Rating: 4.5 Pastrami Nations out of 5

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