Press "Enter" to skip to content

AI invades the big screen in ‘Late Night With The Devil’

Graphic by Ethan Nelson

AI and art are starting to mix on a large scale, and it’s not good.

Released on March 22, the horror film “Late Night With The Devil,” directed by Cameron and Colin Cairnes, stars David Dastmalchian (“The Suicide Squad”) as Jack Delroy, a late night talk show host in the 1970s.

The film is presented as an unedited found footage broadcast with behind the scenes content of Jack’s infamous Halloween special. It dabbles in cults, the undead and exorcisms.

With a 93 minute runtime, “Late Night With The Devil” is engaging until the end where it fails to stick the landing – visually and thematically.

Another problem is that it looks far too clean for a 1970s broadcast. The set is accurate, but it should’ve been shot on film or made to look more grainy to achieve the appropriate aesthetic.

It has been surprisingly successful in the box office for an indie movie, but another storyline has dominated the spotlight.

Before and after Jack’s show goes to commercial, the film cuts to Halloween-inspired title cards with skeletons, pumpkins and other ghouls. The images look handmade, but three of them are AI-generated.

This choice doesn’t make sense on a number of levels. For one, the main gimmick of the film is to be as realistic in depicting the 70s as possible, so why use some of the newest technology to get this point across? Go authentic and give the artists some work.

Another is that its use serves almost no purpose. All of the other graphics are drawn and they look the same as the AI ones. Why include them when this very thing ignited so many problems last year with the SAG-AFTRA and WGA strikes?

That’s what’s terrifying about it. It fits in so well with no real purpose other than it’s cheaper and easier.

Many industries have to fear the invasion of AI, but art is not one of them. We won’t see any good AI movies, music or shows for decades, if ever, because it lacks the human touch that makes art so engaging.

However, if used sparingly like in “Late Night with The Devil,” it can slip under the radar. If you can’t tell, then it’s hard for most people to care.

Making a feature film is so difficult and expensive, and subtle AI could become a safety net to cut corners. If filmmakers continue to take the easy way out, actors, writers and directors won’t get replaced, but AI can easily start to spread to more than just a few frames.

Copyright © 2023, The Scout, Bradley University. All rights reserved.
The Scout is published by members of the student body of Bradley University. Opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the University.