Skip to content

Late Night with the Devil

My History with the Film:
I first heard about Late Night with the Devil a few months ago when a trailer emerged with glowing praise from both Stephen King and Kevin Smith. This immediately got my attention and the unique setting put it on my “to watch” list.

When the film hit Shudder, I wanted to give it a few weeks to cool down. I found that tend to enjoy films when they are distanced by the initial knee-jerk reactions and reviews. So, I waited until a random Monday night and then gave it a watch.

Before I go on, I’m going to avoid spoilers. I’m not a fan of them, but this is the type of movie that is probably best seen with as little information as possible. I even recommend skipping the trailer. In a nutshell, it’s a fictional 70’s late night TV show that plays out in real time as things don’t exactly go as planned.

What the Film is About (Non-Spoiler):
A 70s late night talk show desperate for rating books some unusual acts for Halloween night.

What I Liked About It:
-The film begins with a short documentary about the 70’s and the rise of host of Late Night with Jack Delroy. It’s brilliantly put together and instantly reminded me of something from Behind the Music or E! True Hollywood Story. The documentary then plays the unedited footage that aired Halloween night in 1977, and for the next hour and a half we see everything play out in real-time. When the commercial breaks happen, we see behind the scenes as the cast and crew deal with the events of the night and it adds some exposition.

-I’m actually not a fan of found footage films, but I loved the way this movie was set up. I’m not sure if it was set in the modern day if I would have been so enamored with it, but the 70’s setting was perfect and the film does an excellent job of creating that 70’s vibe with the clothes, set pieces, and graphics. Even things like caked on makeup and smoking, give it an authentic flair. Outside of the high-quality video (although the film does use a filter) and the higher quality scenes that show during the commercial breaks, I could come very close to buying this as an authentic TV show.

-Credit needs to go to the cast which brings this show to life. Everyone was perfect in their roles, headed up by David Dastmalchian as Jack Delroy who is just sensational. He comes to life as a 1970’s talk show host. At times he’s a bit corny, but feels honest and likable just like Johnny Carson, Bob Barker, or Richard Dawson.

-While never flat-out terrifying, the film does build a level of unease through minor comments that brings to life the unpredictability of live TV.

-The movie plays with the concepts behind what is real and what is not real. How real is TV? How real is what we see on TV? How real is life? For a simple movie, a lot of themes emerge while watching the film on how we view the world and how entertainment plays into that view. You could apply this to our current social media age easily.

What I Didn’t Like About It:
-The ending was a bit flat for me. They wrapped the story well, but I would have been okay with less of an explanation and allow the viewers to connect the dots.

Additional Notes:
-“The Grove” is inspired by the real-life organization Bohemian Grove, which includes former presidents and industry titans. They also use owls in their rituals.

-The magician character, Carmichael was inspired by James Randi, a real-life former magician who would debunk supernatural claims. He also offered a cash reward through his organization that was never paid out.

-David Dastmalchian caught the filmmaker’s attention after writing an article about local TV horror hosts for Fangoria magazine.

-Inspired by Ghostwatch (1992)

Rating:
Late Night with the Devil was a fun and unique film watching experience. It is not going to enter my top twenty-five list, but I really enjoyed myself and I do think its unique setting will make it a movie that I think about in the future.

I rate Late Night with the Devil a three out of five.

Published inHorrorMovies

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *