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All About Viral Horror Film Late Night with the Devil — and Why Fans Are Talking About Its Shocking Ending



Note: The following contains spoilers for Late Night with the Devil, now streaming.

Late Night with the Devil is horror unlike anything you’ve seen before.
Part found-footage and part real-time, the film focuses on ’70s late-night host Jack Delroy (Oppenheimer star David Dastmalchian) who finds himself in a pickle as his ratings plummet while in competition with The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.

In a last-ditch effort to boost viewership, Jack hosts a Halloween episode of his New York City–based show, Night Owls, in 1977, inviting special guests to speak on the occult.

One guest is a young girl named Lilly (Ingrid Torelli) with a tragic past who gives Jack, his guests and the studio audience (not to mention viewers at home) more than they bargained for.

Late Night with the Devil has gotten viral attention on social media for its plot and unique filmmaking style, and it amassed more than $10 million at the box office on a modest budget since its March 22 release.

The film’s writer-directors, brothers Colin and Cameron Cairnes, tell PEOPLE, “It’s rare that an indie-genre movie breaks out like this, so it would be an understatement to say the film’s box-office success and all the viral attention it has sparked has been a pleasant surprise.”
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“It means the world to us that people have responded so positively,” they add. “We are just delighted that the film has found its audience.”

Aside from late-night TV and films like The Exorcist (1973) and The Howling (1981), the Cairnes brothers say they were inspired by being “huge fans of Network and The King of Comedy too — movies that explored and critiqued the lengths some people go to to get their 15 minutes of fame.”
During Late Night with the Devil, audiences learn a few things about Jack: namely that he had a wife who died of lung cancer at a young age, which is presented as unusual considering she never smoked. Before her death, Jack even brings her on as a guest on Night Owls in the hopes of upping his ratings, but it proves to no avail compared to Johnny Carson.

Viewers also learn that, ahead of his wife’s death, Jack dabbled in darkness, attending an elite forest “retreat” — but he may have gotten in over his head with evil forces while there.

When the host takes his Halloween episode a step too far and the little girl, Lilly, transforms into a demonic entity, it speaks to Jack like an old frenemy. Paired with Lilly’s unnervingly cloying urgings to Jack that everything will be okay, it leaves the audience wondering if he made a deal with the devil to exchange his wife’s life for ratings.

The finale of the film is a dizzying array of footage from Night Owls’ final episode, including the gory consequences of summoning a demon who doesn’t want to play, interspersed with scenes the audience isn’t sure took place in real life on the show or inside Jack’s mind.

In Late Night with the Devil’s harrowing end sequence, Jack comes face-to-face with his dying wife once more in what seems like a hallucination, where she begs him to put her out of her misery.


He finally agrees, but when he wakes up from the apparent hallucination he is distraught to discover he has stabbed not his wife, but Lilly. A horrified Jack peers around at the carnage in the studio as sirens are heard in the distance.

Asked about a real-versus-imagined take on the ending, the Cairnes brothers say, “Hopefully the film provides enough clues that people can walk away with what they think is their own valid theory.”

“If we provide a definitive answer the tension kind of dissolves, and we think that’s a bit dull! Good horror movies shouldn’t have neat resolutions, we reckon,” add the Queensland, Australia, natives.

The Carineses also say they haven’t ruled out a sequel to the IFC Films production, which may or may not provide more in the way of Jack’s story or something else entirely.

“There are lots of ideas we’d love to pursue, but that’s not to say we haven’t talked about what a sequel — or at least a ‘spiritual’ sequel — might look like,” they say. “We think we’ve established enough lore that it could be fun to explore the Late Night universe a little further.”

For now, they are basking in the glow of having “felt like we’d made something different, maybe even a little bit special,” and hoping fans remain along for the ride.


“Life is full of surprises, right? It helps keep the audience involved, gets them thinking about where things are heading and what they mean,” the filmmakers say. “We love movies that entertain and move while also firing the synapses. Horror is the place where you can do it all.”

Late Night with the Devil is now streaming on Shudder and AMC+.

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