The Reel Review


A late-night TV talk show host desperate for ratings gets more than he bargained for when he has a teenage girl potentially possessed by the devil on his show on Halloween night of 1977.  David Dastmalchian stars in this documentary-styled, found footage horror inspired by 1970s-era, Australian late night TV talk show The Don Lane Show.

Laura Gordon, Ingrid Torelli, David Dastmalchian and Ian Bliss in Late Night with the Devil

Australian writer/director/brothers Cameron and Colin Cairnes have achieved a rare feat – creating a horrifying, suspenseful and wildly unique spin on the now beat-to-death, found footage horror genre. It’s The Exorcist meets Late Night, and also a nice nod to the awkwardly clunky and strange late-night programs of the 1970s – an “anything goes” era in television. The period look and feel is exceptionally on point and the acting is also convincing – in particular, Dastmalchian (Oppenheimer, The Last Voyage of the Demeter) as the late night talk show host with a murky past in the occult, Ian Bliss (The Matrix Revolutions) as the smug psychic debunker and newcomer Ingrid Torelli as the possessed girl, Lilly – the sole survivor of a satanic cult’s mass suicide just three years prior. She is chillingly good.

Ingrid Torelli in Late Night with the Devil

The thing that makes Late Night with the Devil so compelling is in how realistic it all seems and the clever incorporation of hypnosis into the story. You really feel like you are watching a documentary about the filming of that fateful Halloween night’s show. The big climax does not disappoint – going completely off the rails in a gore-filled rampage before sputtering to a not as satisfying ending. The found footage aspect of the film doesn’t always make sense if you think about it long enough and the prologue set-up at the start of the film detracts from the drama, but Late Night with the Devil is still a morbidly fascinating, entertaining ride.


Don Lane and James Randi on The Don Lane Show and right, Doris Stokes

• The episodes of The Don Lane Show that inspired Late Night with the Devil featured psychic debunker James Randi and self-proclaimed psychic medium Doris Stokes.

Colin and Cameron Cairnes

• Australians Cameron and Colin Cairnes’ film credits include 2016’s Scare Campaign and 2012’s 100 Bloody Acres.

• Although set in Chicago, Late Night with the Devil was filmed at Docklands Studios in Melbourne, Australia.

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