Late Night With The Devil (2024) Movie Review - Breath of Fresh Air Supernatural Horror

Horror, Mockumentary, Found Footage | 95 Min
Cover from Mockumentary horror movie Late Night with the Devil (2024)
  • Director: Colin Cairnes, Cameron Cairnes
  • Actors: David Dastmalchian, Laura Gordon, Ian Bliss, Fayssal Bazzi, Ingrid Torelli, Rhys Auteri, Georgina Haig, Josh Quong Tart
  • Writers: Colin Cairnes, Cameron Cairnes
  • Producers: Mat Govoni, Adam White, John Molloy, Roy Lee, Steven Schneider, Derek Dauchy
  • Country: United States, Australia, United Arab Emirates
  • Language: English
  • Parental: Violence, Gore, Peril, Language
  • Horror, Mockumentary, Found Footage | 95 Min

A live television broadcast in 1977 goes horribly wrong unleashing evil into the nation's living rooms.

Welcome to Knockout Horror. We are carrying on in my pursuit of recent horror movies today as I review supernatural mockumentary horror Late Night With The Devil from 2024 (well, technically 2023 but, whatever).

This is a pretty difficult movie to classify. In some ways, it is fairly unique. The only horror I can think to rival it in terms of themes is the fantastic WNUF Halloween Special and its follow up Out There Halloween Mega Tape.

The movie utilises a documentary style presentation. To offer up a story about a failing late night talk show presenter with clips from the show itself and found footage style recordings from back stage. Let’s take a look but, before we do, if you have already watched this movie and are looking for answers. You can check out our Late Night with the Devil Ending Explained article but, be warned, unlike this review, it is not spoiler free.

A Fresh Supernatural Horror

Late Night With The Devil is presented as a sort of mockumentary covering the career of a 70’s late night talk show host called Jack Delroy (David Dastmalchian). Delroy’s show, Night Owls, is constantly pounded in the ratings by the legendary Johnny Carson. In an attempt to gain viewers, Delroy has been turning to increasingly wild stunts. The documentary relates the tale of one such stunt that went terribly wrong. A live Halloween special featuring an interview with a young girl who is, supposedly, possessed by a demon.

Screenshot from Mockumentary horror movie Late Night with the Devil (2024)

Aside from a small, opening, period of the movie dedicated to regaling us with Delroy’s tale of failure and downfall. Including informing us of the death of his late wife from lung cancer, despite her never being a smoker. And his suspicious dealings with a mysterious cult like group who meet at a secret location known as The Grove.

The majority of Late Night with the Devil takes place over one single episode of the show. Delroy has a number of guests on stage, each of them with some form of supernatural talent. Another guest, Carmichael Haig (Ian Bliss), a former illusionist turned paranormal debunker who is clearly based on James Randi. Is there, specifically, to discredit their claims.

A Genuinely Interesting Formula

The brief introduction into our main character, here, is a risky one but it pays off. The mockumentary format allows us to get straight into the action. The talk show format starts within minutes of the opening scenes and that is where we will spend the majority of our time. It is very clear that directors Cameron and Colin Cairnes did their research. Late Night with the Devil is incredibly true to its era.

Set design is of particular note, with the washed out oranges, browns, and beiges of the colour palette feeling completely accurate to the time period. Hair styles, fashion sense and presentation are all spot on. And references to 70’s themes such as occultism, satanic panic, horror of the era and the burgeoning obsession with the paranormal are all equally welcome. 

Screenshot from Mockumentary horror movie Late Night with the Devil (2024)

If it wasn’t for the overly crisp, clearly digitally recorded, camera work. You could be convinced that you are watching an actual talk show from the era. Everything feels authentic, much like it does in WNUF Halloween Special. This is a true love letter to the era and makes for a legitimately interesting approach to horror. 

Gimmicky but Fun

It could be argued that the formula here is little more than a gimmick. The late night talk show style presentation is, basically, a vehicle used to tell a very basic, and worn out, possession story. Hell, even many of the individual elements of the movie are borrowed from elsewhere. Be it the very obvious James Randi impression or the references to The Exorcist, Bohemian Grove and the Church of Satan cult active at the time. But it works so well that it is easy to forgive.

Screenshot from Mockumentary horror movie Late Night with the Devil (2024)

Possession stories can only go so far. There are only a few ways you can work with the formula. So the fact that Late Night with the Devil presents us with such an original take is commendable in itself. The presentation is just so damn fun, as well.

There are way more laughs than you would expect from a horror movie focused on demonic possession. And the constant switching between segments, punctuated by commercial breaks and backstage footage, keeps you engaged and wondering what will happen next. It’s fantastically well executed and consistently captivating. Hell, it’s even quite scary in parts. Putting it simply, Late Night With The Devil just feels so damn fresh. Reinvigorating a very worn out topic.

Well Acted Throughout

David Dastmalchian, as host Jack Delroy, is an extremely experienced actor. He always seems to be slotted into bit roles or side characters, though. Late Night with the Devil is a perfect vehicle for his acting talents. Showing the world that he is more than capable of taking on leading roles. He is fantastic here. Displaying that perfect mix of smarminess and wit that was oh so common with presenters of the era.

Screenshot from Mockumentary horror movie Late Night with the Devil (2024)

His reaction to events escalating, and clear realisation of what is taking place, and how he factors into it is perfectly done. You are never left questioning what he is thinking. And the obvious conflict he feels between fear of the worst case scenario and excitement at what it will be doing for the ratings is a very neat touch. 

I really enjoyed Ian Bliss as Carmichael. He puts on a fantastic, showman like, performance that is a highlight of the movie. It’s especially impressive when you consider the fact that he took this role on very short notice. Laura Gordon is fairly vanilla as parapsychologist June but I did really enjoy Ingrid Torelli as possessed teen Lilly. Her facial expressions towards the camera and uncanny manner of speaking cracked me up repeatedly. She was a lot of fun.

On The Downside

There are a few negatives to Late Night with the Devil. The first being some of the CGI on display. This type of horror movie would be far better with practical effects throughout. Some of the CGI is incredibly naff and looks enormously cheap. It stands out for how hokey it feels and, while it could be argued that it has its place due to the camp nature of the movie, it robs the movie of some of its later gravity.

Screenshot from Mockumentary horror movie Late Night with the Devil (2024)

The ending is going to disappoint a few people, as well. The movie abandons some of its talk show trappings to present a trippy journey into Jack’s mind that doesn’t quite work. It feels fairly at odds with the bulk of the movie’s presentation and isn’t all that interesting. It also represents a massive tonal shift marked by the switch to a 16:9 aspect ratio and never quite feels like it captures what made the movie so interesting early on. The ending can feel a little rushed, as well.

Should You Watch Late Night With The Devil?

I think all horror fans should definitely watch Late Night With The Devil. It is just such an original and unique take on possession horror. The concept works fantastically, acting is stellar, the commitment to a genuine 70’s aesthetic is insanely commendable and the movie is compelling throughout. I was hooked from start to finish and smiling throughout. It is only let down by a weak ending and terrible CGI. Otherwise, this is one of the most fresh feeling horror movies in years and an absolute riot.

Support Us: