Late Night with The Devil channels a frightful and original film

On March 15th I was able to attend an early screening of the highly anticipated film Late Night with the Devil, a film that’s been on my radar since hearing whispers about it after its world premiere at SXSW last year! The film follows a late night talk show host in 1977 hosting a Halloween special for his live studio audience, desperate to get his ratings up he brings out a special guest that claims to be able to contact a demonic entity. It is written and directed by sibling duo Colin and Cameron Cairnes and shot by Matthew Temple.

Late Night with the Devil - Courtesy Shudder
Late Night with the Devil - Courtesy Shudder /

Those who are familiar with my taste in film know that I have a huge love for 1970s horror films, and the second best thing to that is horror movies taking place in the 70s. The film throws us into this instantly recognizable era with ease utilizing its top notch set design and wardrobe, with practically the whole film taking place on the stage of a talk show, it’s no surprise how perfectly lead actor David Dastmalchian fits in this film given his extensive background in theatre.

In fact, in a Q&A after the film, Dastmalchian mentioned he was offered the role after the directors read an article in Fangoria about him and his love of horror television hosts.

Dastmalchian truly is the heart and soul of this film, bringing nothing short of his A-game. While Dastmalchian's career thus far has mostly had him as a side character, whether he’s a lovably awkward super hero in The Suicide Squad or a comic relief techie in Ant-Man, he’s always brought charm and brilliance to the screen. Dastmalchian's acting chops are on full display here, and his charisma as late night host Jack Delroy is unmatched, carrying the weight of the film on his shoulders. I firmly believe David to be one of the best character actors of our generation and hope that his performance in this film lands him more roles.

The rest of the films ensemble cast also deliver on their performances. Most notably with Ingrid Torelli as Lilly D'Abo, a young girl in recovery after escaping from a satanic cult and is now experiencing demonic visions, and Fayssal Bazzi as Christou, an over the top eccentric psychic showman as some of my favorite performances in the film.

The films first act offers a slow start, with its 70s talk show charm and Dastmalchian's character's backstory  being the focus. The film's pacing is overall a slow yet gradual buildup of scares, with a satisfying third act bloodbath so intense that my eyes were glued to the screen.

LATE NIGHT WITH THE DEVIL - Still 5 - Courtesy Shudder /

The way the film is shot is extremely impressive, utilizing its mock talk show format the cinematography consists of a series of multi cam long takes with a handful of handheld long takes. As a filmmaker myself, I found the film's use of long takes extremely impressive. I feel many indie filmmakers will be looking to this as one of the next great low budget hits, with it being set in primarily one location and relying on a small cast to carry it.

The film itself also feels extremely rewatchable, with its tight runtime and a handful of creepy goodies in the background to spot. The film feels like a perfect addition to the line of top notch original horror we've had as of late, reminiscent of some of the later V/H/S films also streaming on Shudder.

The film's eerie moments held enough weight to keep me on edge, and with its use of eye popping practical effects, the scares were effective, fun and eye catching, and sometimes profoundly gag worthy. I know many horror fans are fond of practical effects, so rest assured, this film knows what it’s doing. Some of the makeup done for the more demonic scenes felt directly inspired from The Exorcist which came out the same year the film takes place in, so I'm putting it in my head that it was intentional.

Overall, Late Night with the Devil is a fun, spooky and show stopping piece of Halloween flare. Its 70s charisma, Dastmalchian's charm, practical effects and downright disturbing finale make it what I would call one of the best original horror films in years. Its campy Halloween flare clashing with the satanic panic era demonic antics makes it a modern classic, one that I'll be putting in my seasonal rotation for years to come. I urge anyone near a theater showing it to take some time out of your weekend to catch it.

Have you gotten a chance to catch Late Night with the Devil? If so let me know your thoughts! If you enjoyed reading this review, check out some of my other articles and feel free to follow me on my social medias such as Twitter , Instagram, Facebook and Letterboxd for more horror content.

Late Night with the Devil is hitting theaters March 22nd and will be streaming on Shudder April 19th.

dark. Next. Hazbin Hotel checks into Amazon Prime for its debut season. Hazbin Hotel checks into Amazon Prime for its debut season