Downtown Flowery Branch found itself possessed in April by the production of “Along Came the Devil 2,” the sequel to last year’s horror thriller directed by Jason DeVan.
Jason DeVan has teamed up again with his wife, Heather DeVan, who carries the role of co-writer, producer and actress.
Unlike the first film, which came out in 2018, the sequel includes more thriller elements than horror.
While Jason DeVan compares the first one to “The Exorcist,” he said the second movie is more like “The Shining.”
“In the first movie we set out to make an exorcism movie for the kids and the generation today,” Jason DeVan said. “We were just telling a family’s true story, and stayed true and kept the integrity with the family. Whereas, part two, we had the freedom to write what I wanted and it morphed into where we’re going.”
He said the plot in the sequel brings back an older Jordan, a character who returns to her home to find her estranged father. However, a demonic entity, played by Heather DeVan, has attached itself to the town.
“It’s definitely scarier than the first one,” Heather DeVan said.
Bruce Davison has returned from the first film to play the Rev. Michael. Davison is a veteran actor who has appeared in the X-Men franchise, and received a Golden Globe and was nominated for an Academy Award for his performance as David in the 1989 film, “Longtime Companion.”
Davison said he has always loved working in independent films because “that’s where the creativity is.”
While he can’t give away too much about his character, Davison said he enjoys “the mystery” of the Rev. Michael.
Heather DeVan said her character’s demon has the desire to attach itself to her family members.
“In the first movie I was more vulnerable, but this one is full-on possession,” she said. “I don’t talk, it’s all in my eyes and my face.”
The DeVans work as not only partners in marriage, but in their films. Heather DeVan likes to call her husband “the visionary behind the whole story.” He acts out what he wants in the movie, while she types out the script.
“Because we mesh so well together, it’s such a feeling of a man and a woman writing together, as opposed to just a man or just a woman,” Jason DeVan said. “I feel like having the touches of both and collaborating together makes it feel real.”
Kenneth Dunn, executive producer of the film and a former Gainesville resident, has lent his editing expertise to the DeVans with the script.
Jason DeVan said some of the most emotional lines in the movie were created by Dunn.
Jay Ruggieri, the cinematographer, said if he could describe the film’s 40-person team in three words he would say, “It’s like family.”
He said the DeVans go out of their way to treat everyone on the crew equally, calling everyone by name.
“We’re all a team and every single role is just as important as the other,” Heather DeVan said.
She said 90% of the movie crew is Atlanta-based.
The DeVans recently moved to Georgia from California and have been loving every minute of it.
“You hear that Atlanta is turning into the new Hollywood, but you don’t know that until you dive in and do it,” Jason DeVan said. “The Atlanta crew has been incredibly professional. It’s kind of a younger crew, but they’re so experienced and I couldn’t be happier.”
Flowery Branch isn’t the DeVans’ first rodeo in the area. They filmed “Along Came the Devil” on the same strip of Main Street.
Heather DeVan said the business owners in downtown Flowery Branch have gone above and beyond to support the movie including Liberty Candy Store, Lakeside Market, Home Care Matters and Beer Me.
The film is produced by the DeVans’ production company, DeVan Clan, and will be distributed by Gravitas Ventures. The movie is expected to be released in theaters and via video on demand in October.