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March 22, 2024 / IFC Films

Starring: David Dastmalchian, Laura Gordon, Ian Bliss

Directed By: Nicolas Wendl, Dani Abraham

Set to captivate audiences, this harrowing tale follows a group of friends who become ensnared in a deadly game – where the stakes are nothing less than their sanity and survival – after they unknowingly unleash a malevolent force.

Written By Darren Zakus

Rating 4 out of 5

Late Night with the Devil is truly an outstanding horror movie in every aspect, ranging from the writing and direction of Cameron and Colin Cairnes and the visual design and practical effects of the film, but it is the riveting lead performance from David Dastmalchian that makes this horror flick a must see!

Ever since the film premiered last year at SXSW, the horror community online has been abuzz about the latest film from Cameron and Colin Cairnes: Late Night with the Devil. With each subsequent festival screening, the hype only continued to grow, with some claiming it to be one of best horror films in recent memory. Finally, almost a year after its world premiere, the film is now opening in theatres and audiences are able to see for themselves if the film is truly as scary as it’s been built up to be. I’m happy to confirm that the hype is real. Late Night with the Devil is not only an impeccably made horror, it is absolutely unforgettable thanks to a career best performance from David Dastmalchian and an insanely riveting story that is told realistically that it is the fuel of nightmares!

In a mere matter of ninety three minutes, Late Night with the Devil conjures up an unforgettable horror experience that you won’t believe you are witnessing. The Cairnes Brothers have written one wicked screenplay that plays out in real time and is surprisingly funny, capturing what audiences love about late night talk shows and the chaotic happenings behind the scenes as nothing goes according to plan during this live broadcast. This humour disarms the audience for the supernatural element looming over the entire film, that takes centre stage during the film’s latter half. It’s terrifying in a casual and realistic way as demonic possession happens right in front of your eyes, like it were an office meeting, and it will no doubt send viewers spinning into a frenzy! And once it starts, it does not stop as the story goes all the way down the rabbit hole in those wild final ten minutes, before that shocking and horrifying final moment. At the same time, the Cairnes Brothers never let the pacing drag for a second, nor do they lose the late night show broadcast energy, creating an authentic experience from start to finish. It’s their biggest film to date, working mainly in television before this, but they have emerged as two riveting storytellers in the horror genre that fans will want to watch to see what they do next.

Sometimes you find yourself watching a horror movie that feels too real that it leaves you uneasy from start to finish, and that is exactly the experience you will have while watching Late Night with the Devil. Following the events on a late night television talk show, the film plays out in real time on Halloween night. The actual broadcast appears in colour with a 4:3 aspect ratio that emulates watching a television show back in 1977, fully complete with announcer messaging, images for station difficulties, and impeccable production design that brings the sound stage to life, while the behind the scenes moments between commercial breaks are shot in black and white in a widescreen format to differentiate between the two styles of storytelling at play. Under the direction of the Cairnes Brothers, it never feels like a dramatization but an actual television broadcast that you are watching. Even though it is technically a found footage film, this is not your shaky camera film like Cloverfield or Unsane. Instead, it feels like you have found the film reel from that night’s recording of “Night Owls with Jack Delroy,” pressed play, and are watching the madness of that night unfolding right in front of your eyes. And given the dark, unholy and demonic direction the story goes, it feels like you should not be watching this film! By the time the film enters its final act, there is little doubt that your jaw will be on the floor as you are audibly screaming in terror as you witness the events of the story unfold on screen in front of you, which is only aided by terrific visual effects, make-up and prosthetics work.

There is not a weak performance in the entire cast, with each actor capturing the essence of their character perfectly. Ingrid Torelli is terribly unsettling as young Lilly, delivering each line with an uneasy calmness that screams there is something not right with this young girl, before her spotlight moments as she is possessed by a demonic spirit, which she nails. Laura Gordon is terrific as June, while Ian Bliss is the perfect skeptic as Carmichael Haig, but this film is nothing without David Dastmalchian’s lead performance as Jack Delroy. Dastmalchian is spellbinding as the host of the late night show, struggling with the loss of his wife while desperately trying to save his career. He nails the comedic moments, but when his character begins to lose control of what is happening and a grasp on reality, he becomes the riveting anchor of the entire film. For years Dastmalchian has been a wonderful character actor, playing supporting roles in films like Oppenheimer, The Suicide Squad and Ant-Man, but with Late Night with the Devil, he is finally given that big starring role and he knocks it out of the park! Dastmalchian is the beating heart of the film, never for a second failing to dazzle with a charismatic performance that lets the audience into his character’s pain and desire for greatness, that without there is no film.

Many horror movies nowadays will generate the required scares that audiences expect from them, but there are few that stick with the audience long after the film has finished and continue to mess with their mind, but Late Night with the Devil is the exception. Equally terrifying and hilarious, the latest feature film from Cameron and Colin Cairnes returns to the basics of the horror genre with a tension filled thrill ride that is a must see for any fan of the genre thanks to a strong screenplay and brilliant artistic direction for the film. Led by a mesmerizing and career best performance from David Dastmalchian, Late Night with the Devil is an absolutely terrifying experience that delivers an outstanding demonic possession sequence while perfectly recreating the 1970s late night talk show, resulting in one chilling and excellent horror film!

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