Review: 'Late Night with the Devil'

By: Heather Seebach

From a horror film perspective, 2024 is shaping up to be the Year of the Beast! Released alongside Immaculate - and two weeks prior to The First Omen - Late Night with the Devil is a low-budget horror that shakes up the mockumentary/found-footage subgenre. 

The film is presented as a documentary about the rise and fall of fictional late night host, Jack Delroy. It is mostly comprised of "lost" footage from a shocking live broadcast on Halloween night, 1977. In a desperate attempt to boost his ratings, Delroy invites to the show a series of guests specializing in the occult, including a medium, a skeptic, a parapsychologist, and a troubled young girl believed to be possessed by a demon. Spooky gimmicks quickly turn into dangerous games as the studio becomes increasingly haunted by some unseen evil, and dark secrets are revealed. 

Late Night with the Devil is a unique take on found-footage, taking full advantage of the live television format and the rising satanic panic of the 70s. It has some corny dialogue, and a few cringe-worthy CGI moments, but its minor weaknesses are outweighed by its cleverness. The film has been criticized for its brief use of AI but it more significantly employs practical effects and puppetry, which should not be written off.

David Dastmalchian, in a rare leading role, absolutely dominates the film with his performance. As Jack Delroy, he perfectly captures the essence of a power-hungry late night host without losing the heart that keeps him rooted as a flawed but human protagonist. 

This is a fun one to watch in theaters if you can catch it, but at the same time, it would make for ideal television watching, especially if you have an old console CRT set at your grandma's house. Grab a TV dinner and transport yourself back to the All Hallows Eve that shook the world of late night television.

Late Night with the Devil will be streaming exclusively on SHUDDER starting Friday, April 19th.

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