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‘Late Night With The Devil’ - do not adjust your set

Emily Monaco / THE GATEPOST

By Jesse Burchill

Staff Writer

“Late Night With The Devil” saw its theatrical release on March 22 after debuting at the South by Southwest Film Festival in 2023. 

Set in 1977, this horror film stars David Dastmalchian, known for his roles in the “Ant-Man” films and various DC Comics projects, as Jack Delroy, the host of Night Owls with Jack Delroy. 

In order to boost his show’s dwindling ratings, Delroy hosts an occult-themed episode on Halloween night with one particularly special guest - a young girl named Lily, the sole survivor of a Satanic cult’s mass suicide who now bears a connection to the demon she calls “Mr. Wriggles.”

As leading man, Dastmalchian finally manages to shine after years of supporting roles. His mannerisms, inflection, and sense of humor make Jack Delroy feel like a genuine late-night host. His love of his deceased wife Madeleine and his sincere grief over her death permeates the film and provides several of its more heartwarming moments.

This makes Delroy’s affable demeanor on air contrast even more with how he behaves off camera - beleaguered and stressed when the show is not live, chiefly concerned with improving the ratings, and fed up with people trying to control the show and dissuade him from going forward with learning more about Lily and Mr. Wriggles. 

These two sides of the character make Jack Delroy quite a unique and compelling protagonist and one who is genuinely entertaining to watch.

Lily herself, played by Ingrid Torelli, also left a good impression. Her history with the cult and Dr. Rose-Mitchell provides a strong aura of mystery, her frequent staring at the cameras is incredibly off-putting, and her introduction segment is downright chilling. Torelli’s performance as Lily, particularly during the séance, is creepy in a way that strongly evokes “The Exorcist.”

However, the standout supporting actor is Ian Bliss as Carmicheal “The Conjurer” Haig, a stage magician turned skeptic who has made it his life’s mission to disprove the paranormal. He has been invited to Delroy's Halloween show to debunk its various presentations.

Initially, Haig seems to be rather affable in his repeated dismissals of the paranormal and cordial in his explanations of what “really” happened. However, as time goes on, he proves to be increasingly insufferable, denying that anything that happens is genuinely paranormal even when things get worse and worse. He grows more and more disrespectful toward Lily and her experiences with the cult and Mr. Wriggles, and pays dearly for it in the end. One could say that Ian Bliss completely steals the show, outshining everyone else including Dastmalchian.

As a horror film, “Late Night” manages to prove its mettle with a slow-burn buildup to its supernatural elements. As the show goes on, the film develops an anxious and unsettling atmosphere. As events get more and more intense, you worry about how things are going to turn out.

The fact that the entire movie is filmed exactly like an episode of a ’70s talk show, VHS filter included, makes the horror all the more effective.

Narratively, “Late Night With The Devil” brings together multiple familiar aspects of the horror genre and blends them brilliantly in a presentation that would fit perfectly as a genuine late-night showing, with an ending that brings several details back together perfectly in a memorable twist. This film will have you hooked from the beginning and will refuse to let you go.

Rating: A+ 

A late night nightmare



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