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'Late Night with the Devil' Review

LightsCameraJackson LightsCameraJackson Critic David Dastmalchian provides a refreshing, avant garde take on the late night talk show host role as Jack Delroy, the host of the popular (but not quite as much as “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson”) program “Night Owls”. It’s Halloween night 1977, and this episode of “Night Owls” changes television forever.

That’s what we’re told during the opening narration of “Late Night with the Devil”. We even see a photo of Carson, which adds to the authentic feel. Writers and directors Colin and Cameron Cairnes get a lot of the ’70s talk show vibe right: the set, the look, the clothing, the atmosphere and the title cards in and out of the breaks. To some, this may be so believable that it’s a similar experience to my No. 1 movie of 2022, the grounded and dynamic “TAR”, from director Todd Haynes and starring Cate Blanchett as fictional conductor Lydia Tar.

There are a few missteps in the details and the presentation, most prominently the sidekick character of Gus (played by Rhys Auteri), who could’ve been re-worked to have more pizzaz. And even at 90 minutes, “Late Night with the Devil” feels a little long. But talk show fans (in the first hour) and horror fans (through the final act) should get a lot out of it. This is definitely entertaining and enjoyable enough and certainly a unique entry in the very overcrowded horror genre.

I appreciate all the work that the Cairneses put into “LNWTD”, especially with a low budget. I watch the Carson reruns often weeknights on AntennaTV, and this was like that. Some segments are better than others. And you get added behind the scenes moments, presented in black and white.

Glad that IFC picked this up, for a theatrical run and Shudder debut, after it debuted a year ago at SXSW. Now it’s one of the studio’s most successful films ever.

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