Categories
Film Reviews

Review: Late Night with the Devil. A thrilling watch

  • Release year: 2023
  • Director: Cameron Cairnes and Colin Cairnes.
  • Producers: Derek Dauchy, Mat Govoni, Roy Lee, John Molloy, Steven Schneider and Adam White.
  • Screenplay by: Cameron Cairnes and Colin Cairnes.
  • Cinematographer: Matthew Temple.
  • Music by: Glenn Richards.

Synopsis: Jack Delroy, a showman desperate to save his show, invites a parapsychologist and a supposedly possessed girl to his show.

Shotgun Commentary: one of the most original and fascinating possession-themed horror natives of the last decade.

Lilly (Ingrid Torelli), Jack Deroy (David Dastmalchian) and June (Laura Gordon). Source: Late Night with the Devil (Cameron Cairnes and Colin Cairnes, 2023).

Review

Late Night with the Devil is an educational horror film about the consequences of one’s actions. Through the figure of a demon, the audience is treated to a horrifying tale about the weight of guilt. In this story, no character is innocent, and their fates seem more like the result of karma than of evil.

The story follows Jack Delroy (David Dastmalchian), a TV host desperate to remain in the spotlight regardless of the cost, during the last TV show he’ll ever record. Like most horror films, Late Night with the Devil features a group of people who are really into ignoring all signs of imminent damnation. However, unlike in most horror films, it is hard to determine if the villain is actually worse than its victims. Everyone involved in the show, minus audience and a few technicians, is selfish, narcissistic, and/or full of lies and greed.

A killer team

Jack Delroy is played by Dastmalchian, who delivers flawlessly. He gives us a good view into the soul of a desperate man who is so self-absorbed that he sacrifices anyone without hesitation if it will benefit him.

Jack Delroy (David Dastmalchian). Source: Late Night with the Devil
(Cameron Cairnes and Colin Cairnes, 2023).

His sidekick, Gus McConnell (Rhys Auteri), is the complete opposite. His good will and cowardice make him collateral damage. However, his character is too much like the classic bully’s friend to make you actually feel sorry for him. You know, those who feel innocent because “they only laughed, they didn’t actually do anything”.

As for the guests and the producer, they are all in different positions in the active-passive scale of evil created by Jack and Gus. They all lie, manipulate and take advantage of others for their own benefit. Such behaviour makes them very real, but also quite unlikeable. This is not to say that they deserve what they got. Rather, that there is a twisted poetic justice in the story that makes it incredibly satisfying to watch.

Femme fatale

Even though they are not protagonists per se, the female characters of Late Night with the Devil are the most fascinating by far. This is due to their strange positioning in the aforementioned “evil scale”.

Lilly (Ingrid Torelli) and June (Laura Gordon). Source: Late Night with the Devil (Cameron Cairnes and Colin Cairnes, 2023).

Dr. June Ross-Mitchell (Laura Gordon) is the parapsychologist that studies and takes care of Lilly (Ingrid Torelli). Lilly is a thirteen-year-old girl who is said to be possessed by a demon. While the doctor has convinced herself that she is helping the child and, in her own words, giving her “love and compassion”, her actions are quite questionable.

She is convinced that all she has done is for the good of the kid. Nevertheless, one can’t help but wonder how is making Lilly go through a painful transformation over and over to write a book and appear on TV any good for her wellbeing. Much like Christou (Fayssal Bazzi), who is clearly a fake medium taking advantage of the miserable, June uses an innocent girl as a tool to propel her to fame. Whether she has ever admitted that to herself or not is another business altogether.

Lilly the destroyer

Having left the best for last, it is now time to talk about Lilly, the possessed child. As time goes by, it gets clearer that Mr. Wriggles, the parasite entity that lives in Lilly, doesn’t actually leave her ever. Regardless of what Dr. Ross-Mitchell seems to think, it is painfully obvious that the demon is always inside of her. The real question is whether Lilly is still in there too or she died a long time ago, a theory worth exploring.

Lilly (Ingrid Torelli), June (Laura Gordon), Jack Deroy (David Dastmalchian) and Car (Ian Bliss). Source: Late Night with the Devil (Cameron Cairnes and Colin Cairnes, 2023).

Torelli is the big star of this show. She plays Lilly and Abraxas beautifully, chilling you to the bone and staying clear from exaggerated gestures and cringy lines. The writing works with her in a flawless symbiotic performance that delivers one of the most fascinating possessed child roles ever seen on screen.

Final thoughts

The demon Abraxas, like Delroy, is a showman. He thrives on attention and fame, like a literal embodiment of Delroy’s greed. The more you compare the protagonist and his nemesis, the more you realise that they are pretty much identical in personality and goals, which makes for a very interesting watch.

All in all, Late Night with the Devil is a fascinating horror movie set in the 70s that reminds us of a rancid era in which paranoia, conflict, satanism, and the disregard for political correctness on TV were all the rage. With great style and a marvellous script that is only rivalled by stunning performances, Late Night with the Devil is a must-see for all horror fans.

Advice to take from this movie:

  • Controversy can be found anywhere, pray that it doesn’t find you.
  • An original film shines with a different light.
  • Don’t mess with possessed children!
Jack Delroy (David Dastmalchian). Source: Late Night with the Devil
(Cameron Cairnes and Colin Cairnes, 2023).

What’s your take? Have you watched Late Night with the Devil? What’s your take on the AI controversy? Don’t hesitate to let me know your thoughts in the comments section below, or leave a message in my contact page! For more reviews and cinema-related articles, check out the rest of my blog! 😀

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.