late night with the devil (film, 2023) ↑

late night with the devil (film, 2023)

Late Night with the Devil blew me away. It's an absolute must-see for anyone who loves original, daring horror films that aren't afraid to take risks and go to some truly dark and disturbing places.

The documentary-style opening did a perfect job of setting the stage. That narration by the unnamed historian gave me chills as it laid out just what we were about to witness.

Warning: Spoilers

The set-up is so ingeniously simple yet lends itself to endless possibilities for scares and tension - the entire movie takes place on the set of a late-night talk show being filmed live on Halloween night 1977. The host, Jack Delroy, played by the perfectly cast David Dastmalchian, is a fading celebrity once a part of a satanic cult. In a desperate bid to resurrect his failing ratings, Jack does an occultism-themed episode, hoping to capture something paranormal on live TV.

What follows is a dazzling descent into sheer insanity and terror. From the moment the first guest arrives on set, there's this thick, ominous atmosphere that something isn't quite right. The way the filmmakers can create and sustain that sense of slowly building dread is so impressive. Even during the seemingly innocuous talk show banter in the first act, you can't shake this nagging feeling that it will all go horribly wrong.

And boy, does it ever. I don't want to give too much away, but once the "possession" starts, all hell breaks loose. The visual effects are a brilliant mix of old-school and modern, reminiscent of classics like The Exorcist but with a brutal ferocity. The film doesn't hold back on the gore and Satanic shock value at all.

As great as the visuals are, the acting makes it all work. Dastmalchian is magnetic as the smarmy but increasingly unhinged host. You can see the sheer panic and regret creeping across his face as the night devolves into chaos. The supporting cast is great, too, especially young Ingrid Torelli as the possessed Lilly. Her commitment to that demonic split persona is honestly terrifying at times.

late night with the devil (film, 2023)

I also have to give the filmmakers huge props for their attention to detail in recreating the vibe of a 1970s talk show. From the costumes and sets to the filming style and commercial breaks, it all feels completely authentic and transports you back to that era. When they finally erupt, it makes the horror elements all the more jarring and effective in their sudden eruption of evil into that familiar, nostalgic setting.

In terms of pacing, the movie moves like a freight train once it gets going, cramming so much insanity into a brisk 93 minutes. There's no filler or wasted time, just an escalating barrage of shocks and scares leading to a final act that is an unholy feat of game-changing horror. I won't spoil how it all wraps up, but let's just say the climax takes the concept to its logical and extremely gnarly conclusion. I was glued to the screen in stunned silence.

My only minor gripe is that because it moves so rapidly, there are times when I wish the movie could slow down for a second and spend a little more time developing some of the characters and plot threads. But that's a small nitpick for an otherwise relentless and insanely entertaining ride from start to finish.

Overall, Late Night with the Devil takes a found-footage horror concept and runs with it to amazing effect. It's a brilliant throwback to classic 70s horror filtered through a no-holds-barred lens of visceral intensity. This movie is a gift for horror fans starving for something new and memorable.