Saturday 13 April 2024

Horror Film Review: Late Night with the Devil (2023) ★★★★★ – A Shudder Exclusive

Welcome back to October 31, 1977. Night Owls with Jack Delroy (a show desperate to poach Johnny Carson's viewers) is floundering. After the loss of his wife, Jack Delroy (David Dastmalchian, Oppenheimer) returns with a Halloween show that will become the most notorious night in television history. Written and directed by the Cairnes brothers, Late Night With the Devil starts as a mockumentary before screening the full episode plus behind-the-scenes footage of that fateful night.

We’re transported back to 1970s late night television in all its beige, brown and maroon glory

The show starts off normally enough. We meet probable-charlatan-mystic Christou (Fayssal Bazzi) and magician-turned-skeptic Carmichael Haig (Ian Bliss). The two lock horns immediately but something is not quite right and it’s about to be broadcast into every living room in the nation.

Dr June Ross-Mitchell (Laura Gordon, Reckoning) and the very peculiar Lilly (Ingrid Torelli) are up next. Apart from an alleged demonic possession, Lilly is just a normal teenager, speaking in weird, veiled threats and occasionally using deeper voices.

What could possibly go wrong?

Ingrid Torelli, David Dastmalchian and Laura Gordon in Late Night with the Devil

For a short while, the viewer will be forgiven for thinking that the most scary thing about Late Night with the Devil is the crimplene, corduroy and thick white tights.

Hold on to your seats, it’s about to get much more terrifying

Late Night with the Devil is about as perfect as a horror film can get. It is scary, with a great plot, and is wildly original. It’s also a lot of fun.

The set design, clothing, hair and makeup all perfectly encapsulate the dark era of late 70s fashion, when common sense flew out the window and the rainbow in orange and brown took its place. (Yes, I have trauma relating to the matching brown, crimplene pantsuits my mother made for me and my ragdoll in 1976, what of it?).

The cast are brilliant - awkward, cringey and overly posturing – for just a moment, it feels like you really have been transported back to 1977. Special mention has to go to Ingrid Torelli in her chilling performance as Lilly; I feel like I want to see a lot more of her in future.

David Dastmalchian is Jack Delroy in Late Night with the Devil
I give Late Night With the Devil an excellent five out of five stars. Highly recommended if you teeter on the edge of true belief and are a fan of the late night horror genre. I think this film will especially appeal to fans of the cult classic Phantom of the Paradise. Most importantly, it's 93 minutes of fun and I'm intrigued enough to keep an eye on directors Cameron Cairnes and Colin Cairnes in future.

A Shudder Exclusive, Late Night With the Devil premieres Friday 19 April 2024.

Late Night With the Devil (2023), dir. Cameron Cairnes and Colin Cairnes


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