Broadcast of terror
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Broadcast of terror

Late Night With The Devil adds a unique twist to found footage horror

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Broadcast of terror
(Photo: Night Edge Pictures)

The term "found footage" refers to a subgenre of horror that emerged and became popular in the late 90s and early 2000s. These films offered a unique and immersive experience, making viewers feel like active participants in the unfolding drama. However, some viewers may be turned off by the "shaky cam" formula which is meant to add realism but often results in nausea.

Late Night With The Devil is a fresh take on the film style but without the typical shaky camera as the footage in this case is presented as a studio production. The film tells the story of a live television broadcast in the 1970s that goes horribly wrong, unleashing evil into the nation's living rooms. I was glued to my seat during the entire 90-minute runtime. While Late Night With The Devil may not be groundbreaking, it's definitely different and original.

The film features American actor David Dastmalchian in the lead role of Jack Delroy, a late-night talk show host in 1977. However, filming took place in Melbourne with writing and directing by Australian filmmakers. Jack Delroy hosts a show called Night Owls struggling to compete with popular hosts like Johnny Carson. With his career on a downward trajectory, Jack concocts a brilliant idea for a Halloween special and invites the author of a book about a possessed girl, along with the supposedly possessed girl herself, to the studio. Unbeknownst to Jack though, the guest is about to unleash real evil into America's living rooms.

What sets this film apart is its execution. It's filmed entirely as if it's a broadcast with the audience viewing everything from the camera perspectives. The lighting, shots and camera angles all contribute to the feeling of watching a late-night talk show. The colours, costumes and film grain convincingly evoke the 1970s.

Additionally, there's black-and-white footage that follows Jack during commercial breaks offering a behind-the-scenes look. This contrast is handled seamlessly, enhancing immersion without feeling jarring. The film builds horror quietly and patiently, with a cheeky yet mildly unsettling tone from the start. It feels like archival footage that has been stitched together to reveal the true story of what happened that night. The set design is perfect, particularly the television set which is utilised in various ways to heighten the sense of confinement and energy.

Jack's guests that night include mentalists, sceptics and supposedly possessed individuals. Each guest heightens the audience's unease and the technology used to guide the conversations feels natural. The film's presentation never feels like a performance, but as if we're witnessing someone experiencing a supernatural phenomena for the first time.

Late Night With The Devil excels at building suspense and tension. You know something bad is coming, but you're never sure what it is or when it will happen. The suspense builds until everything becomes wildly disturbing. Special effects are used sparingly and practically which helps add to the perfect amount of visceral impact.

However, the ending may not be satisfying for some viewers, especially those seeking a perfect conclusion. The documentary-style film ends abruptly, leaving the audience to grapple with what they've witnessed. While this may frustrate some, it also leaves a lasting emotional impact.

Overall, Late Night With The Devil exceeded my expectations with its storytelling and patiently paced dread. It has a unique feel and doesn't dumb down its audience. The visuals are stunning, both in practical effects and in emulating the old days of television. I highly recommend watching this movie in the theatre to get the full experience as it truly feels like you're an audience member watching events unravel in real time. The film takes you on a fun and shocking ride, making it a standout entry in the found footage genre.

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