Late Night With the Devil movie used AI art

Letterboxd Nerds Caught ‘Late Night With The Devil’ Directors Using AI Art In The Film

2 min read

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Late Night With The Devil, a horror comedy film that was praised by critics at SXSW 2023, is now being accused by movie junkies on Letterboxd of allegedly using AI-generated art.

The film, directed by Australian brothers Cameron and Colin Cairnes, is set in the 1970s and follows a talk show host who decides to keep the camera rolling during a terrifying broadcast.

Controversy surrounding the film’s use of AI originated from user ‘basedgizmo’ on Letterboxd. “There’s AI all over this in the cutaways and ‘we’ll be right back’ network messages. For this reason I can’t enjoy the amazing performances and clever ending,” they wrote.

“It actually feels insulting when that skeleton message shows up repeatedly, like the filmmakers don’t give a shit and want to let you know that you’ll accept blatant AI in your 70s period piece.”

Basedgizmo’s review quickly garnered nearly 5,000 likes from the community. Other users chimed in echoing similar views; one user named CinemaJoe wrote: “If this gets a pass, where do we draw the line? Complacency in accepting AI now is complacency for AI in the future — a very bleak future.”

Directors respond

In a statement to Variety, directors Cameron and Colin Cairnes explained that AI art was indeed used in the film, but only a minimal amount, and for experimental purposes.

“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.”

Chatter about Late Night With The Devil on Letterboxd soon spilled over to X, and more fans and artists online have begun piling on the film. Voiceover actress and illustrator Sarah Summer Ray claimed she was able to recreate one of the AI artworks that was used. 

Others also stated that they would not see the film due to its decision to use AI art. “If you utilise Gen AI in your film, you’ve already lost a giant demographic of creatives that otherwise would [have] paid to see it,” explained an illustrator on X.

Popular visual artist Adam Ellis even shared a screenshot showing a ticket refund for the film.  

AI in film and TV

The incident comes amid continued controversy surrounding the use of generative AI in Hollywood films and television shows. Last year, a series of productions including Loki Season 2 and Fallout copped backlash from fans online for seemingly using AI-generated content for promotional material.

Late Night With The Devil will be in cinemas in Australia on April 11, 2024.

Image: Late Night With The Devil, @DiscussingFilm on X