Elisabeth Rohm takes the helm for Lifetime’s latest true-crime thriller, “Devil on Campus: The Larry Ray Story.” The film tackles the disturbing real-life story of Larry Ray, a charismatic manipulator ultimately exposed as a sex cult leader and sentenced to 60 years behind bars. Despite the inherently captivating subject matter, the film stumbles in its execution.

While the story initially grips the audience, it soon unravels. Gone is the chilling intrigue of the true-crime narrative, replaced by a disjointed series of events. The connections between these scenes grow hazy, mirroring a fading connection between the characters themselves. Billy Zane delivers a powerful performance as Larry Ray at the outset, but the film loses momentum, leaving viewers questioning its purpose.

Spoilers Ahead

Devil on Campus: The Larry Ray Story (2024) Plot Summary & Movie Synopsis:

“Devil on Campus” opens with a group of friends sharing rooms in the same dorm inside the same campus, awaiting Talia’s father’s return from jail. No matter how bizarre it may sound, the campus allows its students to have their parents stay over alongside their friends. Talia’s father, Larry Ray, is a former police officer. According to him, he is wrongfully sent to jail because of a misunderstanding with Talia’s mother. Talia’s friends are fans of Larry, as he has put many criminals behind bars. But Claudia questions his intentions.

As time progresses, Larry becomes a member of the group regardless of his age. He is so full of life that Talia’s friends start to enjoy spending more time with him. Larry also carries so much cash with him and he allows the young students to spend all the money. He starts to get into their private life. Since they already trust him so much, everyone except for Claudia starts sharing their stories with Larry. From childhood trauma to sexual orientation, Larry seems to have known every little secret of each one of them. Larry creates an atmosphere where the youngsters believe they can live in harmony along with him, a 50-year-old man.

How does Larry Able to Be Friends with Claudia?

One morning, Claudia sees Larry coming out of Isabella’s room. He explains to her that since Isabella seemed very upset last night, he was there to console her. Right after that, Claudia goes to complain against Larry, along with her mother. However, since she has no evidence against him proving that he has misbehaved with Isabella, the complaint could not be registered. Still, an email with a red flag is sent to the authorities, pointing out the fact that Larry has been living with her daughter for days now and that he should remove himself from there.

Claudia’s mother warns her to keep her distance from Larry. However, soon, Larry finds out that Claudia feels discomfort around him. So, Larry goes to talk to her and says that night Isabella told him about her childhood trauma. He slept on the ground because he thought she needed someone to stay with her for the night. Knowing this, Claudia feels for Isabella and shows her gratitude toward Larry. From this point on, Larry starts to manipulate and mold Claudia exactly the way he wants.

Devil on Campus: The Larry Ray Story (2024) Movie Ending Explained
A still from “Devil on Campus: The Larry Ray Story” (2024)

One day, Larry brings Claudia for dinner. He convinces her that her childhood has been traumatic. When she says that she will feel more comfortable talking about this with her parents, Larry tells her that if she shares this with her parents, they will not understand her emotions properly. The following day, when Claudia shares about her childhood trauma thing with her parents, her father seems to be very surprised. They actually believe that Claudia’s childhood was just fine. But, unbeknownst to them, Larry has already manipulated her to believe that they will not understand her pain. Hence, Claudia, seeing her parents’ very casual reaction, completely submits herself to Larry.

What does Claudia Confess to Larry?

One day, Larry is visited by his stepfather. He starts to behave absurdly when he hears about his mother. Larry starts crying, fearing all the childhood traumas he had to face because of her mother. He even tells the security not to let his mother visit the room. When his stepfather tells him that her mother will eventually sell the property that Larry holds very close to his heart, he asks Talia and her friends to help take care of the property. Meanwhile, since the cash Larry had has gone, he asks the youngsters to collect money from their parents to help him in this situation.

Claudia’s parents warn her to stop indulging so much with Larry. They see how she is completely brainwashed by him as she starts seeking validation from Larry. Larry takes advantage of the situation. He behaves very poorly with the youngsters. He starts doubting them for plotting a murder against him. One day, when he hears from Santos that Daniel has left the property to see his parents, he tells Talia that it must be Claudia who is forcing others to leave the place by feeding lies. He asks Talia to follow Claudia’s movements. However, later that night, Claudia tells Larry that Talia has had too much alcohol and she is not well.

Larry believes that Claudia is planning to kill him and Talia, so he punishes her. He keeps her awake for the whole night, forcing her to confess the crimes she has not committed. Since Larry has been in such positions due to his job profile, it is not hard for him to force a confession from a teenager. All he needs to do is force Claudia to such an extent that she breaks and admits to everything Larry says. Not being able to sleep the whole night, Claudia confesses she has been plotting to poison Larry so that she can go to her parents.

What does Larry do to Claudia?

Since he has her confession, Larry puts Claudia in a more difficult situation by stating that she owes him a lot of money. If she does not pay him back, he will let her parents know. He even goes to them along with Claudia, saying that she owes money. However, since Claudia’s parents are thinking about a divorce, her father does not show much interest in these talks. Seeing her parents in such a state, Claudia holds on to Larry for the time being. Later that night, Claudia takes a lot of pills and is admitted to the hospital, where Larry makes sure her parents can’t visit her.

Soon after, Larry shows Claudia’s journal, where he tells her about the fantasies she had written. Claudia does not remember writing them, but the way Larry has comforted her in the past few days made it very easy for him to convince her about the stories inside the journal. All hell breaks loose finally when Larry tells Claudia that she should explore more by becoming a sex worker. He does it so subtly that when Claudia says she doesn’t want to be a sex worker, he convinces her that she will be doing it to get rid of the debt she owes to Larry.

Devil on Campus: The Larry Ray Story (2024) Movie Ending Explained
Another still from “Devil on Campus: The Larry Ray Story” (2024)

Well, given Claudia’s mental state and how much she feels rejected by her parents, it is not difficult for a person in her position to entrust someone who has not been good to her. She perhaps sees him as a father figure, which eventually creates a problem as Larry takes advantage of that and makes her do anything he wants.

Devil on Campus: The Larry Ray Story (2024) Movie Ending Explained:

What Happens to Claudia At the End?

As time progresses, Claudia works as a sex worker to pay Larry. One day, Claudia meets a guy named David, who comes as a customer. Soon, however, they started bonding with each other. Isabella, now working as Larry’s assistant, warns Larry that Claudia is becoming very intimate with David, which can be pretty harmful to them in the near future. Larry goes to warn her. When the warning does not work, he tortures her until she promises that she will not indulge herself with David any longer.

However, within a few days, Claudia runs away with David. Soon after, a report about Larry is published in a magazine. The FBI tries to get a confession from the victim herself. But Claudia is too ashamed to speak about the heinous truth. Later, when Claudia’s parents comfort her that regardless of what happens, they know that she is the victim, not the criminal here, Claudia gains the confidence to become a witness against Larry Ray. She finally goes to the FBI. On the basis of her complaint, Larry Ray is arrested at his house.

At the end of the film, we see Santos, Felicia (Larry’s girlfriend), and Claudia come up as witnesses against Larry’s crimes. Isabella, too, is charged with money laundering and sentenced to four and a half years in prison. Claudia starts living a normal life as she works in a publishing house in New York without fearing her past any longer. Larry Ray receives a sentence of 60 years in prison, which is perhaps not enough for the vicious crimes he has committed.

Read More: Stalked by My Stepsister (2023) Movie Ending Explained: Is Madison Able to Save Laura from Devon?

Devil on Campus: The Larry Ray Story (2024) Trailer:

Devil on Campus: The Larry Ray Story (2024) Movie Links: IMDb

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