Late Night with the Devil (Cameron Cairnes/Colin Cairnes, 2023, Australia/United Arab Emirates/USA)

Noteworthy for being one of the most successful theatrical releases of all time for IFC Films in the United States, Late Night with the Devil has arrived amidst a revival in religious and Satanic horror, with recent reboots of both The Exorcist and The Omen, as well as originals like Immaculate filling the horror scene. Produced by its star, David Dastmalchian, who has become a well-known face in the world of horror but in big-budget franchises such as Dune as wellLate Night with the Devil is a period piece set in the world of 1970s late-night talk shows.

Dastmalchian plays Jack Delroy, a talk show host struggling with ratings who - on Halloween night 1977 - decides to host a show dedicated to the occult that will have disastrous consequences. The film opens with a montage that sets the 70s atmosphere as well as the story of Jack, including background with his dead wife and involvement in a strange owl-worshipping cult based on the real-life Bohemian Grove. The intro also establishes the found-footage nature of the film, which we are told is the actual footage of the show on that fateful Halloween night.

Late Night with the Devil plays fast and loose with this found footage motif, as we are treated to numerous backstage conversations - filmed by a mobile cameraman - in addition to the show itself. This is perhaps the film's strongest weakness, as certain choices toward the end of the film are inconsistent concerning what is happening versus what is happening in the minds of the characters. Still, Late Night with the Devil is a competent exercise in tension, with a great feel for the details of the period. While it may be somewhat overhyped, it deserves many of its accolades, including for the performances.



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