Late Night with The Devil 2023 over

Late Night with The Devil is a 2023 Australian Found Footage Horror film, written and directed by the brother duo Cameron and Colin Cairnes. The pair is known for creating films such as 100 Bloody Acres (2012) and Scare Campaign (2016). The film is inspired by an episode of the Australian talk show The Don Lane Show (1975-83) starring Uri Geller and Dorris Stokes.

A late-night live television broadcast in 1977 goes horribly wrong, unleashing evil into the nation’s living rooms.

 

Poised as a recently discovered master tape of the notorious live broadcast of the fictional late-night talk show Night Owls with Jack Delroy from Halloween 1977, Late Night with the Devil oozes nostalgic 70s charm with every available second of screen time. From the wardrobe and hairstyles to the washed-out colour schemes, and even the scripted comedy back and forth between host and sidekick delivers the very epitome of the era’s talk shows. Additionally, the film takes full advantage of the era’s height of the satanic panic in America, with many similar shows occurring on the subject at the time—lending to a vicious battle for ratings amongst networks to cover the subject that only fed this moral panic. These shows opened a window for its audience to witness material that was unavailable before, with (alleged) footage of these despicable Satanic cults performing blood rituals, orgies, etc., offering a certain dangerous allure to these shows.

Though the narrative is sluggish to begin with, the film utilizes this time to concisely introduce every element of the story with amazing efficiency. The general overview of the period, an in-depth introduction to our cast of characters, as well as their history effortlessly entices the audience into this well-crafted and plausible world. Yet, as the film progresses, the establishment of a captivating, slow-burning tension is progressively built upon in the first act to deliver an exceptionally foreboding middle point—ultimately culminating in an impressively mind-bending descent into insanity.

 

Late Night with The Devil 2023

Thematically following suit with its story, the cinematography of Late Night with The Devil is a standout point of its 70s veneer. Featuring an incredibly realistic depiction of 70s TV, the analog aesthetics are meticulously replicated with authenticity. From colour calibration issues that cause a slight colour bleed, low-resolution image blur, and tight 4:3 ratio, the film’s visuals tie every nostalgic element into a believably cohesive recreation.

However, the film isn’t afraid to shatter this facade when needed, introducing a black-and-white, fly-on-the-wall perspective on the events that occurred behind the scenes and between commercial breaks. Reverting to a standard 16:9 full-screen ratio, this sudden change in perspective propels the viewer away from the illusion of being an audience member and provides a more in-depth look behind the scenes of the show. These inter-spliced interludes feel reminiscent of the 1981 shockumentary The Killing of America, offering a stark and impactful contrast that greatly increases the raw nature of these scenes.

 

Late Night with The Devil 2023

Our main character, Jack Belford, played by David Dastmalchian is very much the driving force throughout the film. Whilst live, he displays a naturalistic charisma that seems to permeate effortlessly whilst onscreen. However, during these off-air moments, David delivers a fine rendition of a man close to breaking point—the stress of his show becoming obsolete to more popular shows and his near-ended contract up for renewal ignites a palpable desperation that only seems to propagate as the film progresses.

Moreover, Ingrid Torelli gives a fantastic performance as young Lilly D’Abo in her first feature-length debut. Her eerily flat voice and blank yet piercing stare beyond the fourth wall produce a jarring paranoia as she seems to stare directly at the viewer. Yet, it’s her performance while under demonic possession (known as Mr. Wriggles) that steals the show, with incredibly animated body movement and complete personality change that certainly showcases the young actress’ range.

 

Late Night with The Devil 2023

While Late Night with The Devil isn’t exactly laden with special effects, their restrained use undoubtedly increases their effectiveness when implemented. Utilizing a mix of CGI and practical special effects, their execution, whilst modest, is still an impressive display of technical work that shines through. Furthermore, the makeup effects of Lilly’s possessed state, designed by Marie Princi, are a marvelous depiction of supernatural possession, with dark, sunken eyes, greenish, torn skin, and bright yellow iris’. Yet, these are presented subtly in comparison to others in the genre, presenting a more grounded vision of a satanic takeover.

An outstanding example of nostalgic perfection, Late Night with The Devil is a meticulous recreation of the visually distinct era of 1970s television as well as the overwhelming panic at the moral degradation of society. With its incredibly compelling story, amazing performances, and top-notch special effects, the film is an incredibly thrilling plunge into the supernatural that’s sure to keep audiences on the edge of their seats until the credits.

 

Late Night with The Devil (2023) is available to watch on Shudder from April 19th and in UK cinemas from March 22nd.

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