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Late Night with the Devil - Movie Review

Title card saying "On Halloween Night 1977"

Late Night with the Devil, our featured movie review, is a spooky tale set in the late 1970s featuring a pseudo found footage-like format of a late night talk show on Halloween night that is destined for cult status.

I almost skipped over Late Night with the Devil (2024), a movie made in part by Shudder and IFC Films, until I watched the trailer to see that it combined a couple of my favorite things: a period piece from the 70s and commentary on the media. Oh, and most importantly: Halloween.

The acting is top notch and the characters are fleshed out just enough to add to the suspense and leave you questioning their motives.

The movie starts off with an explanation of the in-universe tv show, Night Owls, reminiscent of Johnny Carson’s “Tonight Show”, then alternates between scenes of the show and off-camera interactions with the characters. The host, Jack Delroy, played by David Dastmalchian, is trying to achieve the all important ratings and beat Carson. His ploy, on this Halloween night, starts off with a guest who claims he can talk to the dead, followed by a skeptic and then the big event, summoning a demon possessing a young girl. As ratings go up, Delroy decides to amp things up and, of course, all goes wrong and everyone but Delroy ends up dead.

The only thing that remained unclear and served as a distraction at times was the inclusion of the recently-deceased wife storyline. It wasn’t clear to me as I watched, but I infer that Delroy collaborated with the same cult that worshipped the demon to also kill his wife, albeit to end her suffering. I would have much preferred to end the movie with show itself.

Screenshot of the movie with the Night Owl set
"We'll be right back after these messages."

In interviews, the filmmakers leave it up to the audience to determine for themselves exactly what happened. Was the ending a hallucination? Did Jack make a deal with the devil for ratings? It’s just not clear—and that opens things up for a sequel.

Finally, it’s worth noting the exceptional 1970s Halloween decor, costumes and the ambiance that grips the film. It carries the same stylistic ambitions as the WNUF Halloween Special film, while showcasing much better production values and polish that the latter film strayed from to keep the 80s VHS aesthetic. But don’t misunderstand, this film is far from all style and no substance. No, it’s a true horror film that leaves you wanting more. And that’s the best kind.

"Late Night with the Devil" is available now to buy or rent from the various streaming services or on Shudder and AMC+.


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