‘Late Night With The Devil’ ending, explained SuperNayr

One of the more interesting and visually exciting movies of recent memory is the horror film Late Night With The Devil, starring longtime character actor David Dastmalchian in the lead role and having an ending that has sent minds reeling.

Dastmalchian has appeared in films like The Dark Knight, Bird Box, The Suicide Squad, TV show Gotham, plus he was also in Oppenheimer — all the proof you need to confirm that the Stephen King-approved film has the best talent leading the charge. He’s a phenomenal actor and it’s great to see him in a leading role in such a great film. The movie’s getting incredible reviews and buzz, but the ending is pretty out there and leaves a lot of unanswered questions.

That’s where we come in! We’ll do our best to explain what happened. But spoilers lie ahead and if you are yet to watch the horror flick, stop reading now.

What is the premise of Late Night With The Devil?

Late Night With The Devil is a “found footage” horror film written and directed by Australian brothers Colin and Cameron Cairnes. Found footage is a type of movie technique where all of the movie is presented as past recordings that were later “found” and presented to the audience. Other notable films that use this technique are The Blair Witch Project, Paranormal Activity, and Cloverfield.

It centers around a 1970s late-night talk show host named Jack Delroy (Dastmalchian), a direct competitor of Johnny Carson. It’s presented as a documentary exploring what happened on Halloween night on the show. For background, Delroy’s wife recently died of cancer and Night Owls with Jack Delroy was on hiatus for a while. When it came back, it couldn’t quite get back to the level of success from before, so Delroy cooked up a plan to have an occult-themed show on Oct. 31.

The plan involved bringing on possessed teen Lilly (Ingrid Torelli) and her parapsychologist/author Dr. June Ross-Mitchell. Other guests on the show that night include Carmichael the Conjurer (Ian Bliss), a magician who’s now a skeptic, and a psychic named Christou (Fayssal Bazzi). There’s also Delroy’s sidekick Gus (Rhys Auteri). A few things to remember: Delroy is rumored to be a part of a secret society that meets in the woods and performs weird rituals, and that supposedly has something to do with his wife Madeleine’s death from lung cancer, even though she never smoked in her life.

The plan is to have Lilly summon the devil on live TV, which he thinks will surely be ratings gold, and catapult him into the number one spot like he always wanted. There’s also the pressure of cancellation if he doesn’t turn the boat around, which adds to the stakes of it all. The thing is it does, but it’s the cost that makes it hard to bear. This is pretty much the point of the film: Be careful what you wish for because you might get it, but you will probably not like what you had to sacrifice. It’s sort of like a Monkey’s Paw situation.

Christou senses a spirit named Millie, who we find out is what Delroy used to call his wife. Then he senses a darker spirit and pukes black stuff all over the stage. He’s taken away and dies on the way to the hospital, which Delroy keeps from everyone. The crew and Gus start to get freaked out and beg Delroy to call it off, and everyone seems bothered by the vibes. Delroy stays the course and with Lilly padlocked to a chair, asks Dr. June to go ahead with the plan.

Lilly, by the way, is the sole survivor of a demon-worshipping cult. The demon in question is named Abraxas, and he’s the subject of Dr. June’s book Conversations with the Devil. June summons Abraxas and things get scary. Lilly’s voice keeps changing, the chair levitates, and other weird stuff happens. Afterward, Carmichael tries to prove that all this is fake by hypnotizing the audience and making Gus think he’s full of worms, which causes him to claw out his own stomach. They then watch the tape back and see that everyone was fooled, including Gus.

Then, they watch Lilly’s footage again and suddenly you see the spirit of Madeline right behind Delroy, and things get crazy after that. Lilly is possessed again but this time she’s not padlocked. Her head splits in two and fire shoots out. Gus’ neck snaps, June’s neck gets sliced open and Carmichael is set on fire and dies. The audience flees and Delroy is suddenly transported into a series of memories. The last two memories are the most important: He drinks from a cup with the cultists and then he’s standing by his dying wife as she lays in bed.

Her dialogue is important to understand what’s happening: “They told you you could have it all, didn’t they?” she says. “Be number one. Well, you finally made it, darling. But you had to pay a price. Exit Millie, stage left.” Then she asks him to stab her with a ceremonial knife to put her out of her misery. He complies and stabs her again and again, then the camera moves back and suddenly it’s the studio, and he’s stabbed Lilly to death. He stands there dumbfounded, realizing that he’s not only murdered someone but that there are dead bodies all around him. The sounds of sirens slowly get louder and the movie ends.

What does the ending of Late Night With The Devil mean?

Late Night With The Devil
Photo via AGC

Before we dive in, let’s hear from Dastmalchian, who gave his interpretation of the ending to The Wrap.

“I believe that if [emergency responders] didn’t get there in time, which they may have, he was going to end his own life. But if they saved him, then he is currently heavily medicated, staring out the window of somewhere upstate, being taken care of by professionals, who will be trying to unravel this mystery for the rest of his life.”

He also doesn’t think that Delroy intentionally killed his wife in his quest for ratings, as he believes he’s just “a man who is dealing with overwhelming unprocessed trauma, grief, work, addiction, alcoholism, and his mind is on the fray. And he is not doing the work and not getting the help to heal what is ultimately really broken inside of him.”

He thinks Delroy opened a “doorway to something … much bigger” and “more dangerous and much darker” than anything he could’ve “ever imagined.” Dastmalchian also tells a story about his two friends in a band called Twin Temple, who are considered a “Satanic doo-wop” group. He asked them if it was possible for them to cast a spell and ask for a mansion. The duo said sure, they could do it, but you’d “have to be very careful” because you don’t know what has to happen for/to you to get the mansion.

“What insurance windfall did you get because all of a sudden, a car crashed into you? And now you are unable to drink out or eat anything other than with a straw for the rest of your life. But you got that mansion.”

The theme of “sacrifice” comes up again and again in the movie. When watching stock footage, we see Delroy signing a five-year TV deal and a reporter yelling out to ask what Delroy had to “sacrifice” to get there. Then the narrator, voiced by Michael Ironside (from Top Gun!), mentions the secret society and how “Speculation swirls around its taste for arcane ceremony and its power to make and break careers.”

Also, when Lilly is possessed the first time, the demon says “He’s here, isn’t he” and then makes a statement about how it has met Delroy before. Delroy says no and the demon calls him a fool. “We met amongst the tall trees,” the demon says. If you put everything together the wife scene becomes more clear. The implication is that Delroy made a deal with the demon to become number one, but it’s a monkey paw wish and his wife had to die for him to get there. Be careful what you wish for indeed.

Late Night With The Devil is in theaters now. It will appear on the horror streaming service Shudder on April 19, 2024.

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