‘Late Night with the Devil’ movie review: David Dastamalchian steals the spotlight in this diabolically clever horror-satire

Scene from ‘Late Night with the Devil.’

After patiently waiting over a year since its debut, Late Night with the Devil arrives as an edgy mix of satire and forewarning, all set within the framework of a suspense-filled Halloween-themed horror show. Crafted by the visionary Australian pair, Colin and Cameron Cairnes, the film cleverly intertwines righteousness and ingenuity amidst the aura of a 1970s talk show, evoking both a sense of longing for the past and a renewed perspective on the perils of popular media.

David Dastmalchian commands the screen as the unfortunate Delroy, exuding charisma and urgency in equal measure. Caught between sinking viewership and his personal demons, Delroy’s bright facade masks an underlying void that could engulf him. The unfolding events of a chaotic night peel back layers of his ill-fated agreement, serving as a somber reflection on the ruthless nature of ambition in the entertainment industry.

Late Night with the Devil (English)

Director: Colin and Cameron Cairnes

Cast: David Dastmalchian, Laura Gordon, Ian Bliss, Fayssal Bazzi, Ingrid Torelli, Rhys Auteri, Georgina Haig, and Josh Quong Tart

Run-time: 93 minutes

Storyline: In 1977, a sinister force invades living rooms nationwide during a live TV broadcast gone awry

The craftsmanship of the Cairnes siblings is apparent throughout, as they meticulously summon the charm of a 1970s studio set. Imbued with authenticity from genuine film equipment to the calibrated acting that dances between playful and earnest, the audience is transported to the reign of live studio television.

Packed with clever jabs and acerbic wit, each line of dialogue is a nod to an impending doom. The script indulges in its own outlandishness, while delivering a shrewd commentary. Echoing the cries of Network‘s Howard Beale, Delroy’s frantic efforts to revive his show cleverly satirize the superficiality of fame and the relentless chase for higher viewership at any cost. It melds into a devilishly delightful critique of a business often dominated by illusions, where logic takes a backseat to spectacle.

David Dastamalchian as Jack Delroy in a scene from ‘Late Night with the Devil’

David Dastamalchian as Jack Delroy in a scene from ‘Late Night with the Devil’

The unsettling banter between Delroy and the show’s diverse characters—from Lilly’s creepy portrayal by Ingrid Torelli, to the endearing psychic Christou personified by Fayssal Bazi, to the cynical Carmichael acted by Ian Bliss—results in a gripping series of exchanges that has viewers anxiously squirming, anticipating the story’s climax.

The true gem of the film for horror fans is a rich array of nods to the classics of the genre. Whether it’s the visceral in-camera effects reminiscent of John Carpenter’s work or salutes to Linda Blair’s unforgettable portrayal in horror lore, the Cairnes brothers’ passion for the genre is on full display, with a signature touch of originality.

Despite its categorization, Late Night with the Devil is more than just a horror flick. The directors adeptly juggle suspenseful and comedic elements, maintaining an engrossing rhythm throughout the film. With a satirical tone, the movie offers moments of uneasy laughter amid the thrills, resulting in a riveting exploration through the murkier facets of show business. While the film may not surprise hardcore fans, it triumphs with sharp-witted industry commentary and engaging horror storytelling.

Late Night with the Devil brilliantly unmasked, taunts the hazards of unbridled aspiration and the allure of dramatization in the media realm. It serves as a chilling reminder that sometimes the most dangerous beasts are the ones we eagerly invite into our homes—or perhaps among the late-night television hosts we adore.

Late Night with the Devil is now showing in cinemas.

Leave a Comment