Like the zombie sub-genre, found footage has had its up and downs along with the sort of saturation that should have drowned them long ago. But its still here and while there are creative talents with fresh ideas and approach, they remain vibrant.

Opening Late Night with the Devil, a foreboding narrator provides a brief background to the mastertape of a programme that shook America one Halloween in 1977, and that the audience are about to see.

Helpfully there’s a quick explanation of the American ratings system, local and national tv structures plus the intense rivalry to be king of the late-night chat show format.

Jack Delroy (David Dastmalchian) has a popular local late night chat show that gets picked up for national syndication. Called Night Owls, he’s scheduled against Johnny Carson the undisputed king of the format and is getting trounced.

As the ratings sweeps approach the producers opt for a Halloween special, featuring the usual suspects: a medium, a sceptic, a possessed youngster and an academic who believes that there needs to be an open mind about these matters. The viewer is presented with the original mastertape having been buried after the show’s initial transmission, plus backstage footage.

If you are familiar with the mainstream American chat show format then much of this will be familiar: the house band, the host Gus (Rhys Auteri) bantering with Jack etc.

That basic format has barely changed though here its presented in all its gauche 1970’s splendour. The awful clothes, the garish colours and lighting of the time. Writers and directors Cameron and Colin Cairnes haven’t skimped on the details here along with references to the politics of day.

The key here is that it looks and feels authentic. The inclusion of the backstage conversations with ratings chasing producers and the growing bitterness between the hosts and guests add to the unease. All blend perfectly as secrets are revealed, and ruthless ambitions exposed.

There’s barely a loose thread anywhere in the film. The sense of dread and disquiet are palpable from the moment the medium Christou (Fayassl Bazzi) locks horns with pompous sceptic Carmichael Haig (Ian Bliss) who later seeks to discredit academic Dr June Ross-Mitchell (Laura Gordon) and her subject the allegedly possessed Lilly (Ingrid Torelli). Here the performances are top draw, though drawing out Dastmalchian as a man not totally convinced about anything he’s doing that night functioning with just a façade of confidence.

The tension torques up to a blistering SFX sequence that sits comfortably in the film, both of its time yet right up to date. And that isn’t the end of the intrigue.

And that is maybe where the film hiccups as the filmmakers left themselves with a lot of work and while still tight, is a bit of a cliff edge. That however is a minor matter for a film that is at the end of day hugely enjoyable.

Late Night with the Devil is in UK cinemas now and then exclusively on Shudder from 19 April 2024.