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Almost certainly the next big horror hit of 2024, “Late Night With The Devil” successfully conjures up new fear from an old trope.

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I think all of us can agree that the “possession” sub-genre of horror has become divisive at this point. Some of that falls on the shoulders of The Conjuring Universe because of the inconsistent quality of the films. Some of it is because that particular sub-genre is hard to stick the landing on, in general.

Many of us grew up on the Godfather of Possession Horror, The Exorcist, and without realizing it, we tend to hold them up to that standard, and that is borderline impossible.

Occasionally, however, a film comes along to show us that we can still do something great with that type of horror. Films like The Autopsy of Jane Doe and, most recently, the incredible When Evil Lurks.

Now I am here to tell you that we have a new contender: Late Night With The Devil.

The film centers around Jack Delroy, a late-night TV host of “Night Owls With Jack Delroy”, who is at the tail end of his career in 1977. We’re presented with the footage of his final live show, a Halloween-themed episode during the all-important sweeps week.

Because it’s a Halloween episode, his guests are made up of a medium known as Christou, a former magician-turned-skeptic named Carmichael The Conjurer, and a parapsychologist (Dr. June Ross-Mitchell) along with her teenage patient Lilly, who survived a mass suicide at a Satanic Church.

During the show, chaos erupts as the episode descends deeper into Hell after they return from every commercial break.

Jack Delroy is played perfectly by David Dastmalchian.

He effortlessly switches between a man who wants to save his career and a man who wants to ensure the safety of his guests and crew throughout the night.

In fact, the acting across the board is stellar. Ian Bliss plays a smarmy, cocky version of the now skeptic Carmichael The Conjurer down to the sleaziest detail. Laura Gordon plays the doctor who has a connection to Jack but keeps her loyalty centered on her patient, Lilly. Lilly is played by Ingrid Torelli, and I have to say that she is truly the standout from the strong cast here. She essentially plays two parts: a possessed girl and a trauma survivor.

The cast is only one part of this perfectly mixed cauldron full of Satanic Panic, though.

The pacing and presentation are perfect. It looks and feels like a 1970s TV show down to the very last detail, and it is paced in a way that removes any slowdowns or lulls in the runtime because every time that could happen, something happens on screen that sucks you right back in.

It truly is a masterclass in single-setting horror filmmaking, thanks to writers/directors Colin and Cameron Cairnes and everyone involved.

What also sets this film apart from other possession-type films is the depth of the story and characters.

This isn’t just a 70’s possession film.

The film discusses grief, loss, Satanic Panic, the curse and cost of fame, the legend of Bohemian Grove, skepticism, and so much more. It plays out like a Twilight Zone episode if it were done on a live episode of Johnny Carson.

The effects are also fantastic. The mixture of practicals and CGI is used in a way that proves it is very useful if it is done correctly.

There are easter eggs everywhere for long-time horror fans.

Late Night With the Devil is the type of horror film that feels like an instant cult classic that will be shown at midnight screenings for years to come, and it couldn’t be more well deserved.

Do not miss this one if it hits theaters near you, because you’ll regret it if you do.

Late Night With the Devil premiered globally at the SXSW Film Festival in March 2023. Distributed by IFC Films and Shudder, it will be released to theaters on March 22, 2024. It will begin streaming on Shudder, on April 19, 2024.

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