Jason and Heather DeVan are a husband and wife team who just a year ago, unleashed one of the best horror films of 2018, Along Came the Devil, which can be best described as a 21st-century indie version of The Exorcist. Leaving the door open, the DeVans are back with the long-awaited follow up Along Came the Devil II, which is being released in select theaters, on Demand, and Digital on October 11 from Gravitas Ventures.
World Film Geek got the opportunity to talk to both Jason and Heather DeVan about the sequel.
Hey guys! I have to tell you, I’ve been looking forward to this sequel. The original film was #5 of my top films of last year and I had prayed there would be a follow-up. Not only did it happen, but this was as good, if not slightly better than the original.
Heather: That’s awesome!
Jason: That was the plan! That’s what we wanted to do. We didn’t fully tell the story in part one, so we wanted to answer questions from part one for the fans. So, I felt we did that but also added some big surprises that no one would expect.
Did you two already have the sequel thought up before the first one was completed?
Jason: Pretty much we took notes and we had some things we couldn’t do in part one because it was low-budget and we had questions that needed to be answered. I’d say we knew what direction we wanted to go in when part one was finished with the notes we had. It all fell together and while the first one was compared to The Exorcist by many, we wanted to go into a different direction and we decided to add an element from another classic horror film. We felt that we wanted to stick with the script and the genre of horror for the fans and make this a little scarier and more violent (laughs).
A little more jaw-dropping for sure because my mouth was open during most of the second half.
Jason: (Laughs) Exactly. We wanted to raise the stakes and have that reaction. We’re actually smiling as you’re saying that.
This time around, you have Laura Slade Wiggins (left) in the role of Jordan and what astounded me was that you gave her father’s character a bigger role where he was subjected to a cameo in the original, with Mark Ashworth (right) returning. What was it working with these two on the set?
Jason: Mark and Laura are both just consummate professionals. I mean, they are excellent actors. I told Mark, because he had a smaller role in the original and was such a hated character, I told him we’re going to work together again on part two. He didn’t believe me at first (laughs). And here we are shooting part two and we wanted to redeem his character. We knew we had to rebuild him a bit to see where his character would take him as the film went on.
Heather: And Mark and Laura are just wonderful human beings. I mean, not just great actors, but good people. Honestly, I think Laura became friends with half the crew and they still are keeping in touch to this day. Very humble that way.
Jason: Very down to earth, pleasure to work with. Friends to this day. Those type of people who leave you wanting to work with them again, that’s exactly how they are.
I have to say, Heather, you scared the crap out of me as Sarah. That flashback scene with Father Michael and you’re tied to the tree? That kept me on the edge of my seat.
Heather: Yeah that was fun! I’m going to lie.
Your son Cassius played a different character in the first film and he’s got a bigger role this time in Xander. His performance felt so natural and at times, very disturbing. But that is one of the best things about the film, the tense moments throughout the film because it leaves everyone guessing.
Heather: Aw, thank you! We’ll have to get off the phone and tell him that!
Jason: Thank you so much! It really made it easy for me. I know what kind of actor he is. He knows what he wants, he grew up on horror movies. He’s not afraid of anything. I didn’t have to deal with the whole “oh, here’s the director working with his son”. I knew that he can handle it.
Once again, Bruce Davison returns as Father Michael and he definitely upped the stakes with his performance due to the character being broken due to the first film. Was he all for returning once everything was set?
Jason: When Bruce found out, I let him know right away that his role here would be more prominent and I looked forward to collaborating with him again. When the script was finished, I really wanted his feedback because he’s a legend, having done this for a long time. I valued his opinion on where he wanted to take the character and what we wanted to do with it. And he nailed it, I thought he did a great job. We brainstormed his thoughts. That’s exactly what he did.
Heather: And I have to say, Bruce and Jason have this amazing chemistry. They feed off each other very well. They trust each other, which is a huge plus for a director and actor, especially one of Bruce’s caliber. It really helps!
How long did shooting take and did you have any obstacles to go through this time around?
Heather: It was a 20-day shoot and there were going to be difficulties because you’re working with a low budget. To be honest, I felt it went smoother this time around because we didn’t have to second-guess ourselves. And we were way more organized because we knew what we had to get to done to turn this in and delivered on a deadline.
Finally, the door seems open and I have to ask this…will we see the return of Father Michael and Sarah for a third installment?
Heather: Yes! Absolutely!
Jason: I think it’s safe to say yes. Now, we opened up so much more without giving too much and there are now new questions that need to be answered. We have so many ways and directions we can go.
That’s awesome because I loved the first one and as I said, this was an excellent sequel, so I am definitely looking forward to a 3rd film! I’ll be the first one in line!
Jason: That’s awesome to hear! Maybe we’ll try to get you up here on the set when we shoot the third film!
That would be awesome! Along Came the Devil II comes to theaters, On Demand, and Digital on October 11 from Gravitas Ventures. If you liked the first film, get ready for this sequel which has a mindblowing third act and churns out some excellent performances. Thank you guys for talking about the film!
Jason and Heather: Thank you so much! It’s been great talking to you!
A Special Thank You goes to Tatum Wan and Maya Steinberg at Katrina Wan PR and Jason and Heather DeVan for making this interview possible.