(directors/writers: Colin & Cameron Cairnes; cinematographer: Matthew Temple; editors: Colin & Cameron Cairnes; music: Glenn Richards/Roscoe James Irwin; cast: David Dastmalchian (Jack Delroy), Laura Gordon (Dr. June Ross-Mitchell), Georgina Haig (Madeleine), Fayssal Bazzi (Christou), Ian Bliss (Carmichael Hunt), Ingrid Torelli (Lilly D’Abo), Rhys Auteri (Gus McConnel), Josh Quong Tart (Leo Fiske), Gabby Seow (Sammy), Christopher Kirby (Phil), Steve Mouzakis (Szander D’Abo), Michael Ironside (Narrator); Runtime: 92; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Derek Dauchy, Mat Govoni, Steven Schneider, Roy Lee, Adam White, John Molloy; Good Fiend Films; 2023-in B/W, color-United Arab Emirates/Australia-in English)

“It offers a novel twist to a familiar story.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

The Aussie brothers Colin & Cameron Cairnes (“Scare Campaign”/”Bloody Acres”) direct and write their third film together. This is a high-concept gimmicky found footage horror film, that’s served-up as a mockumentary. It offers a novel twist to a familiar story, as It pays homage to director William Friedkin’s The Exorcist and its author William Peter Blatty.

The opening sequence is in B/W and is narrated by Michael Ironside. It shows that the ’70s was a time the country was fucked-up and morally on the wrong track-which may not be true.

Jack Delroy (David Dastmalchian) belongs to the Illuminati-like  club, The Grove, which is an all-male club that meet in California’s redwoods. He’s married to the glamorous stage star Madeleine (Georgina Haig), a non-smoker who dies of lung cancer and as a result his once booming career takes a downturn.

The oily and kitschy Jack is in his sixth season in 1977 as host of a fictitious syndicated live TV talk show called Night Owls, that is broadcast from New York. It can’t beat the rated number one show–Johnny Carson’s The Tonight Show. During Sweeps Week, Jack realizes he must get higher ratings or his show might be cancelled, therefore he and his team arrange on October 31, 1977 for his Halloween special to tune into the spooky side of the supernatural and thereby draw other curious viewers beside his regulars.

Jack’s guests for the special include the psychic mind-reader Christou (Fayssal Bazzi); the smug debunker of the mind-reading act, the ex-magician and stage hypnotist Carmichael (Ian Bliss); the publicity hound clairvoyant writer parapsychologist, Dr. June Ross-Mitchell (Laura Gordon), whose book is “Conversations With The Devil;” and a possessed pre-teen girl named Lilly (Ingrid Torelli), June’s patient since three years ago when she was the sole survivor of a mass suicide at a Satanic church. Now the good doctor is on a book tour with Lilly, who is possessed by a demon she named “Mr. Wiggles.” For ratings, Jack insists she conjure up the demon while on air. When she does the show goes bonkers, as it turns into a macabre horror show.

During the one-hour special, called “Late Night With The Devil,” the scares are from such things as vomiting black goo that’s shot up at the audience in projectiles, slashed throats, exploding heads and hundreds of worms coming out of a dead person’s stomach opening. Questions arise if the craziness was real or an illusion.

After many passing years, a buried tape of the Halloween show is found, as the film uses the found tape to tell its story like it was shown on TV.

It played at the Overlook & SXSW Film Festivals.