top of page


Late Night With the Devil

David Dastmalchian plays a struggling late-night talk show host who attempts to interview a demon live on air in an effort to boost ratings.


Desperate to finally get one over on his cross-cable rival, Johnny Carson, a 1970s late-night talk show host invites the devil into the living rooms of America, live for your entertainment! No, we aren’t talking about a James Cordon Carpool Karaoke featuring the possessed, pursed lips of Donald Trump; Late Night with the Devil depicts the rise and fall of Mr Midnight himself, Jack Delroy. Ever the bridesmaid in the commercial warfare of late-night TV, Delroy throws the most demonic of Hail Marys ever captured on camera, which is replayed to us in a found-footage style thanks to a rediscovered master tape.


The so-called ‘live television event that shocked a nation’ takes place on Halloween night, 1977, six seasons into Jack Delroy’s stint as the host of Night Owl. Fortunately, we are given all the necessary context we need thanks to a true-crime style promo at the very top of the billing, condensing Delroy’s six-year career into a handy five-minute recap. This includes Mr Midnight’s alleged involvement with an elitist cult and the tragic loss of his wife Madeleine (Georgina Haig) to cancer. Late Night with the Devil then sends us hurtling live-on-air into a world of 4:3 commercials, consumerism, and chaos. Hold onto your sideburns!

Tonight’s show consists of Christou (Fayssal Bazzi), a psychic who can communicate with the dead, Carmichael (Ian Bliss), a naysayer magician, and Dr. June Ross-Mitchell (Laura Gordon), a parapsychologist investigating demonic possessions. However, it is the final guest to enter stage right who finally sends Delroy to the summit of the talk show ratings. The sole survivor of a mass suicide at a satanic church, young Lilly (Ingrid Torelli) is supposedly a vessel for what Dr June calls a ‘minor demon’. But when Christou starts spouting Exorcist levels of black vomit and Carmichael spouts even more ominous levels of scepticism, it becomes clear that this ‘minor’ demon poses a very major threat – unless you’re the owner of the network, of course.

“Ladies and gentlemen, please stay tuned for a live television first, as we attempt to commune with the devil. But not before a word from our sponsors.”

Welcome back to today’s review!

If David Dastmalchian’s career of superb supporting has led us to this point, then Late Night with the Devil is a worthy foray into the primetime position of leading actor. The comic relief in Ant-Man, an antihero who fights evil by throwing polka-dots in Suicide Squad, a pale-faced general in Dune, and Oppenheimer opposition in… well, Oppenheimer, he has long-since showcased his acting chops over a wide range of genres. Dastmalchian thrives under the 70s spotlight in Late Night with the Devil, carrying the narrative of the film with all the poise and charisma of a Conan O’Brien, albeit with something far darker behind the eyes.

Cameron and Colin Caimes provide a stark reminder that horror extends far beyond the realms of cheap jump scares, played-out clichés, and surface-level storylines. Late Night with the Devil is a tale of how desperation and greed can be just as horrific as demonic

possession – or perhaps they are even each of the same. Cameron and Colin were clearly committed to calling back to classic 70s horror themes, referencing The Exorcist in particular with their use of black vomit, deep demonic voices, and possessed levitating, all while putting a fresh spin on proceedings.

Late Night with the Devil

The film provides such an immersive experience as it commits to the style and feel of 70s television, from the 4:3 screen dimensions to the cigar-smoke-stained ocean of burgundy and beige. In a year in which Oppenheimer was commended for its use of black-and-white contrasting footage, we see it again here from the Caimes brothers. The Night Owl show itself is a smorgasbord of 70s colour palettes, but the film switches to black and white during ad breaks to peel back the more sinister and sadistic layers of network TV. The retro cinematography even extends to the VFX in the final scene, leaving us second-guessing whether what we are seeing is in fact real or fabricated.

Late Night with the Devil has you leaving the cinema with a thousand questions, but in the very best way. Questions that prompt discussion between fellow horror lovers, rather than questions that challenge the quality of the story itself. If Lilly housed only a minor demon, what are the major ones like? What other sacrifices have the Redwood cult made in their pursuit of fame and fortune? Will we be reintroduced into this world with a sequel?

End Transmission.


Rating Late Night With the Devil



bottom of page