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  • Writer's pictureJamie

Late Night With The Devil - Review

Sometimes in my life I sit and chant “found footage horror” so that I can hopefully conjure up something of note. This summoning has brought some real stinkers out though, with found footage being quite an accessible genre of filmmaking, it has a vast and wavering degree of quality. I am still a huge fan of this subgenre, with some found footage horrors being the most effective in my opinion. When I heard that Late Night With The Devil was coming our way, I was so excited. A premise like this ticks so many horror boxes that it felt like it couldn’t go wrong Unfortunately, some of the story decisions didn’t exactly work for me in my tastes which derailed the steaming train it seemed to be on, but, the redeeming qualities left me with a shrug. 

Late Night With The Devil sets out to showcase some lost footage of the 70s late night talkshow, Night Owls. It’s lost episode is from a Halloween episode where it’s host, Jack Delroy (David Dastmalchian) fights to keep ratings by pushing the boundaries with his guests. He invites on a medium, skeptic and a girl who is said to be possessed by a demon. 

With its opening guest, Christou (Fayssal Bazzi) the medium sets the stage really well, with a build in horror and believability. We then get Carmichael (Ian Bliss) who is a former magician, now famed skeptic who is hell bent on disproving the existence of the supernatural. 

This is then followed by the final guest, Dr. June Ross-Mitchell (Laura  Gordon) and Lily (Ingrid Torelli). They are on to prove the existence of the supernatural, through Lily’s experiences, while Carmichael snips in the background to discredit the doctor. 

Horror only builds up from there in a climactic conclusion to the talk show. 

As I said, not all of this film worked for me, and where it fell down was its step out of the 70s era. It set itself up as a documentary that was to show this lost footage, but was lacking the creativity to stick to this era in all of its storytelling, opting to showcase behind the scenes segments with higher quality cameras that have been presented in black and white. The clean audio and smooth camera work contrasts negatively against the strong showing of the TV cameras and show while on air. 

This was a big hit against the film for me, which I think lost a lot of the tension in it through these moments It also has a lot of backstory crammed into its runtime which doesn’t always pay off like it should. 

The performances in the film do make up for a lot of this, with Dastmalchian doing the heavy lifting in his performance as Jack Delroy. He is able to bring that classic false confidence and care that you can feel from some late night hosts. We get a truer picture of Jack in the behind the scenes moments, where you get a glimpse of his true emotions and motivations. 

The supporting cast also mostly worked well, with my only problem being with Carmichael’s character. He adds a lot to the film but becomes overbearing and slightly annoying in moments where tension could have been heightened. His smug realism is effective in some parts of the film but hugely detracts from others. 

The looks of the film is both very good and also not for me. Not sticking to the 70s look enough for my liking and also trying out some VFX that did seem out of the indie budget range, cheapening the look of it. While I have heard arguments that the VFX is to be era accurate, I don’t  feel like the presentation of it suits the decision to have the VFX look poor on purpose. 

Late Night With The Devil is quite like a lot of horrors, with a great concept that just doesn’t quite deliver in its final execution. I think its a lesson that we are very very slowly going to learn. With the recent surge of shorts turning into features, there is a disconnect of concept and finalisation. I hope to see more realised films in the horror genre as we move forward because I am such a fan of these films when done right, and so disappointed when being let down by them


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