‘Late Night With the Devil’ Review: David Dastmalchian’s Gripping Descent into Horror

What would happen if you tried to make contact with the devil on live television? Well, Late Night with the Devil has a staggering answer to this question. Helmed by the directing duo of Cameron and Colin Cairnes, the movie chronicles the journey of a late-night talk show host Jack Delroy (David Dastmalchian), trying to make a name for himself in the entertainment industry. Viewers love how he hosts his talk show, Night Owls with Jack Delroy. He is in a competition with Johnny Carson to be the king of the late-night talk show around the mid-1970s. Although he gets a lot of fame and money from his job, he is still not at the top.

Jack Delroy’s life takes a turn in Late Night With the Devil

With fame, he started mingling with the people belonging to the high society. As a result, he also becomes a member of the so-called “Grove.” While things were going fine, Delroy received the heartbreaking news of his wife getting diagnosed with cancer. Eventually, she dies, and Delroy goes out of sight. A month after her death, Delroy returns to live television. But things are not the same, and his show is getting less viewership with each passing episode. So, he decides to captivate the minds of his viewers with a special Halloween episode. Delroy promises that viewers will see a demonic possession on LIVE TV. What could go wrong? Well, everything.

One of the aspects that makes Late Night With the Devil such a compelling watch is how it uses several suspense-building techniques. From the outside, viewers are often teased with glimpses of the catastrophe about to take place, creating an atmosphere of uneasiness and expectation. Moreover, the movie never follows a linear trajectory. Instead, Late Night with the Devil masterfully mixes past and present, keeping viewers guessing about the horrifying things that they are set to witness. Another thing that makes the movie different from a conventional horror movie is the perfect mixture of psychological tension and instinctive stimulation.

Ian Bliss, Laura Gordon, David Dastmalchian, Ingrid Torelli, Rhys Auteri in Late Night With the Devil - Movie Review
Ingrid Torelli, David Dastmalchian,  Laura Gordon, Ian Bliss, and  Rhys Auteri in Late Night With the Devil. Image courtesy of IFC Films.

The filmmakers have taken the slow-burn approach in telling the story in Late Night With the Devil, which makes the viewing experience even better. It creates an atmosphere where viewers are constantly guessing what will happen in the next moment, keeping them on the edge of their seats. The Cairnes Brothers have stitched every part of the story so meticulously that it creates a long-lasting impact on the viewers’ minds.

David Dastmalchian should be leading more feature films

As far as the acting is concerned, David Dastmalchian has done a phenomenal job as the talk show host, willing to do anything for his talk show. His compelling portrayal of Jack Delroy is one of the main reasons why this film has become such a roaring success. His character is filled with vulnerability and charisma. As the story moves forward and Jack’s world comes crumbling down, Dastmalchian steers the emotional gradations of his character with confidence. The actor knocks it out of the park and makes it clear that he is more than capable of leading a feature-length film. Are you listening, Hollywood? Cast him in a big movie, like right now.

Meanwhile, the extraordinary ensemble cast, including Laura GordonIan BlussIngrid TorelliRhys Auteri, and Fayssal Bazzi, have given exceptional performances, especially Torelli. The young actor is a revelation and delivers a performance that is really hard to forget.

In the middle of all the chaos and terrifying visuals, moments of dark humor provide a few moments of respite from the relentless dread. The juxtaposition of horror and comedy underscores the film’s multifaceted approach to storytelling, ensuring that audiences are kept guessing until the very end. As the story moves toward its climax, the filmmakers don’t leave any stone unturned, taking things to an extreme level and delivering a finale that’s terrifying and exhilarating.

David Dastmalchian in Late Night with the Devil (2023)
David Dastmalchian in Late Night with the Devil. Image courtesy of IFC Films.

All in all, Late Night with the Devil is one of the best horror movies in recent years that expertly combines atmospheric horror with brain-bending thrills.  Every aspect of this film has been finely tuned to give viewers an unforgettable and devilishly entertaining experience. Late Night with the Devil should definitely be on your watchlist if you love horror films or are just looking for a bone-chilling adventure.  It’s tragic that a movie like this wasn’t even in the conversation when the awards season arrived. But now, it’s time for viewers to give this movie all the attention it deserves. So, if you want to get thrilled to the core, then Jack Delroy and company are waiting for your arrival.

Late Night With the Devil will be in theaters on March 22, 2024. After that, it’ll be available on Shudder.

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