‘Late Night with the Devil’ slammed for controversial use of artificial intelligence

When ‘Late Night with the Devil’ first came out, it was very well liked. Recently, people have become upset after they learned some of the images were created by A.I.
When ‘Late Night with the Devil’ first came out, it was very well liked. Recently, people have become upset after they learned some of the images were created by A.I.
Ella Wachtel

The debate over whether or not it’s appropriate to use artificial intelligence in art is a bigger conversation than it’s ever been thanks to the release of Cameron and Colin Cairnes’ film “Late Night with the Devil.”

The Cairnes’ brothers new horror film debuted to a slew of positive reviews from critics and audiences alike, with many calling it one of the best releases of the year thus far.

“Late Night with the Devil is one of the best horror films of 2024, anchored by a genuine performance, impressive special effects, and a story that is as fascinating as it is unsettling,” wrote critic Chris Sawin via Bounding Into Comics.

However, upon the film’s release, it came out in the media that during production the Cairnes’ brothers leveraged artificial intelligence to create some of the graphic segments shown throughout the film.

“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,” the Cairnes’ brothers explained via Variety.

Although its use of artificial intelligence was brief, “Late Night with the Devil” has faced its fair share of backlash online from various horror fans who believe the Cairnes’ brothers crossed the line.

“I’m heartbroken and furious,” wrote Letterboxd user Hyde Graves. “I’m ashamed that my time and money has gone towards funding and enabling this.”

This news comes just a few months after the conclusion of the actors and writers strike in which the ethicality of artificial intelligence in movies was a focal point. However, it is important to note that “Late Night with the Devil” was filmed and debuted at film festivals prior to the strike.

“The only thing that makes me sad is we had such an awesome graphics design team, and all these artists who were working on making this film so perfect, so it makes me sad that this is a story that’s getting attention, but I get it,” explained David Dastmalchian, lead star of the film, via Kevin McCarthy. “That is something that we’ve learned a lot in the last few years since we made this movie… I completely stand by this movie as a thoroughly original piece of work.”

Despite the criticism, “Late Night with the Devil” stills boasts an impressive 97 percent score on the film and television review site Rotten Tomatoes and is currently performing well at the box office.

All in all, “Late Night with the Devil” has strongly stirred the debate over the use of artificial intelligence in art and could be a peek into the film industry of the future. Whether or not studios will continue to use artificial intelligence in the creative process is still up in the air. Could this be a peek into the creative techniques of future filmmakers? Only time will tell.

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