Horror Film ‘Late Night with The Devil’ Criticized for Using AI Images

New horror film Late Night With The Devil, which debuted in theaters over the weekend, has come under fire for using AI-generated images.

Late Night With The Devil — which stars David Dastmalchian as a late-night host during a 1977 live television broadcast that goes horribly wrong — has garnered critical praise for being the best horror movie of the year so far.

However, Late Night With The Devil has come under scrutiny after disappointed film fans noticed that it used AI to generate some of the images in the movie.

The AI-generated images in question feature as interstitials throughout the film’s fictional live TV broadcast. Among them is an illustration of a skeleton dancing in the middle of a pumpkin patch and the occasional “We’ll be right back” message.

Film journalist Matt Bellissimo criticized the filmmakers behind Late Night With The Devil for their use of the technology — saying that using AI to generate images on film production would eventually eliminate the need for studios to hire photographers and graphic artists.

“The big deal is that it always starts with small images and TV show intros to cut corners and undercut artists,” Bellissimo writes on X (formerly known as Twitter.)

“Innocuous moves to pay people less for work.”

The Threat of AI to The Film Industry

Following the uproar about the inclusion of AI art in the movie, siblings Colin and Cameron Cairnes — who wrote and directed Late Night with the Devil — responded to the criticism in a statement to Variety.

The Cairnes siblings said that they had experimented with the technology for three still images in the movie.

“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,” they tell Variety.

“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.”

The use of AI in film and television was a major sticking point between studios and artists during the strikes by the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and Screen Actors Guild (SGA) in 2023.

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 to replicate actors’ likenesses.

The release of OpenAI’s video generator Sora has also rattled filmmakers.

Last month, Film mogul Tyler Perry halted an $800 million expansion of his studio after being shocked by the cinematic capabilities of OpenAI’s text-to-video model Sora and the threat it brings to jobs in the movie industry.