Film Review: LATE NIGHT WITH THE DEVIL (2023): An Original and Terrifying Scarefest with a 1970’s Vibe from IFC Films SuperNayr

David Dastmalchian Late Night With The Devil

Late Night with the Devil Review

Late Night with the Devil (2023) Film Review, a movie written and directed by Cameron Cairnes and Colin Cairnes and starring David Dastmalchian, Laura Gordon, Ian Bliss, Fayssal Bazzi, Ingrid Torelli, Rhys Auteri, Josh Quong Tart, Georgina Haig, Steve Mouzakis, Gaby Seow, Christopher Kirby, Nicole Chapman, Michael Ironside and Elise Jansen.

Late Night with the Devil from filmmakers Cameron and Colin Cairnes is the type of horror movie that will work best if you watch it by yourself in the dark. That’s partly because it’s so frightening to watch and partly because the ending messes with the viewer’s mind in such a way that one will want to collect his or her thoughts before discussing the picture with others. You may think you have it all figured out by the time the end credits roll but this is the type of movie that you could certainly watch twice. If you know where it’s going, you can watch all the clues that are in the film that lead to its haunting conclusion and say, “A-ha.”

A fictional late 1970’s talk show called “Night Owls” is where you’ll find host Jack Delroy (David Dastmalchian), a seemingly normal guy who’s hiding a haunted past that will come out and then some on a spooky show centered on freaky themes on Halloween night of all nights. This movie’s presentation of Jack is the best thing about the film. Dastmalchian’s performance really captures the essence of a character who seems charismatic and likable on the surface but may just have skeletons in his closet that he certainly wouldn’t reveal if he could help himself. Jack has lost his wife, Madeleine (Georgina Haig), to cancer and the show keeps him going in an odd way as he competes with the likes of Johnny Carson and holds his own.

The film builds tension slowly with guests on his show that set the stage for what is to come. Fayssal Bazzi plays Christou who seems to be able to conjure up elements of the past for the show’s studio audience. Christou is one unusual psychic who is very confident in his abilities and makes the crowd in the studio a bit nervous with his seemingly assured assertions. But, he’s nothing compared to June Ross-Mitchell (Laura Gordon) and Lilly D’Abo (Ingrid Torelli). We find out that the young Lilly is survivor of a church’s mass suicide and wait till you see where this plot thread is headed!

This movie unfolds in a twisted way as someone evil known as Mr. Wriggles seems to take Lilly over on stage during a seance. Also particularly gruesome are the bugs that come out of the stomach of Jack’s co-host, Gus (Rhys Auteri). What is real and what is imagined and what does it all have to do with Jack, if anything at all? This is one movie that initially feels like a found footage movie but is something even more frightening, especially when the viewer sees what’s in store for the characters when video of the night’s events is played back.

Thanks to competent direction, this horror picture maintains momentum and keeps the viewer engrossed in the action, wondering which way the plot will take the audience next. Dastmalchian will have the viewer guessing whether or not he’s a part of the unusual events which are occurring on stage or whether he’s just an onlooker who’s experiencing the same terror the audience is.

Late Night with the Devil almost literally takes the viewer to hell and back. Unexpected interruptions in the action are hilariously interwoven into the picture, just like they famously were on 1970’s television. This movie loves the time period it portrays and has a field day creating the terror that it so expertly sets up. Even the psychic seems like he could be real and those bugs that come out of Gus’s stomach feel like they’re truly there. But, it is Lilly who suffers the most after evil possesses her and the complexity of the end results will make The Blair Witch Project look like a ride to grandma’s house.

It takes a lot of originality to bring a project like this to the screen. Both Cameron and Colin Cairnes create the essence of terror through the events that take place in the picture. The setting on Halloween night is a truly genius idea that intensifies the horror. If there’s a flaw in the picture, it’s that you won’t be able to see the ending coming on a first watch. This film requires multiple viewings to get to piece the backstory together when it is finally revealed in the movie’s terrifying last moments.

While Late Night with the Devil isn’t the best of IFC’s recent slew of horror movies, it is certainly a unique ride with plenty of spooky scenes that will be hard to shake from your memory. Dastmalchian holds it all together with a first-rate performance. In support, Laura Gordon, Fayssal Bazzi, Rhys Auteri and Georgina Haig are all valuable to creating the essence of terror the movie embodies. Ingrid Torelli plays Lilly to perfection and be sure to keep your eye on this character because she’s the real deal when it comes to figuring out the plot. In fact, all the characters become interwoven into this nightmare which vividly comes to life on screen.

Late Night with the Devil promises many a sleepless night. Dastmalchian’s casting ultimately makes it all a successful endeavor. It’s hard to imagine anyone else in the lead role of this picture. All the themes the movie portrays feel frightening because Dastmalchian’s character is so normal-looking on the surface. But, looks are deceiving and this film will knock your socks off if you want to be frightened beyond a reasonable doubt.

Rating: 7.5/10

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