‘Late Night With the Devil’ Directors Explain Using AI Art in the Film, Say They ‘Experimented’ With Three Images Only (EXCLUSIVE)

After some horror fans took to X (formerly Twitter) to express disappointment that the upcoming IFC Films feature “Late Night With the Devil” includes AI-generated art, the directors have clarified how the technology was used.

Cameron and Colin Cairnes, the Australian siblings who wrote and directed the film, released a statement to Variety clarifying the scope of AI art in the film. The statement reads:

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“In conjunction with our amazing graphics and production design team, all of whom worked tirelessly to give this film the 70s aesthetic we had always imagined, we experimented with AI for three still images which we edited further and ultimately appear as very brief interstitials in the film. We feel incredibly fortunate to have had such a talented and passionate cast, crew and producing team go above and beyond to help bring this film to life. We can’t wait for everyone to see it for themselves this weekend.”

“Late Night With the Devil” stars David Dastmalchian as a talk show host who keeps the cameras rolling during a live Satanic incident. The film is mostly presented as raw footage from the fictional Halloween 1977 broadcast, filled with period staging, costumes and details.

Disappointment in the inclusion of AI art was kickstarted by a March 19 Letterboxd review from user based gizmo, who wrote that because of the use of AI, “I can’t enjoy the amazing performances and clever ending.” That triggered more low ratings in Letterboxd, as well as discussion that flowed to X, in which film fans wrote messages like, “My little heart broke watching ‘Late Night With the Devil’ this evening, to see they utilized AI art.”

The use of AI in film and television has been an especially hot-button topic since last year’s dual Hollywood strikes, in which it became a stumbling block in signing new deals with the actors and writers’ unions. The new WGA contract that came out as a result of the strikes includes wording that “AI-generated material can’t be used to undermine a writer’s credit or separated rights,” while the SAG deal required that consent and compensation guidelines are required to use AI in order to replicate actors’ likenesses.

Reviews of “Late Night With the Devil,” which debuted at last year’s SXSW film festival, have been strong, with Variety critic Dennis Harvey writing, “The Cairnes maintain an astute balance between pop-culture irony, familiar if not always predictable thrills (including some creature/gore FX), and a kind of hallucinatory mass-media surrealism.”

“Late Night With the Devil” is being released theatrically by IFC Films and Shudder on March 22.

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