The Neon Demon (2016) Movie Review

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2016 | R | Horror, Thriller, Drama
118 minutes /

User Score: 60/100

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The Neon Demon Review


When aspiring model Jesse moves to Los Angeles, her youth and vitality are devoured by a group of beauty-obsessed women who will take any means necessary to get what she has.

The Neon Demon (2016) is a 1h 57-min France/Denmark/USA psychological thriller that was shot in several locations in California, USA. Director and writer Nicolas Winding Refn (Drive (2011), Bronson (2008), Only God Forgives (2013)) did a fantastic job executing this film with a stunning landscape. Nicholas did a lot of great things with The Neon Demon, but he also did a lot of forgettable things including giving us anything new but the protagonist journey which leads the movie to be a shallow experience.

The Neon Demon revolves around beautiful, youthful Jesse, who is an underage aspiring model in Los Angeles. Jesse ( Elle Fanning - Maleficent (2014), The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008), Super 8 (2011), Deja Vu (2006)) is in great danger with some dangerous females who is capable of murdering her. Jesse made friends with makeup artist Ruby ( Jena Malone - Contact (1997), Into the Wild (2007), Pride & Prejudice (2005), Sucker Punch (2011)) on her first photo shoot in Los Angeles. Ruby tries to be Jesse’s protector as Jesse tries to flourish in her career which is dangerous since she is young with a fresh face and her beauty makes the other models feel threatened. Sarah ( Abbey Lee - Mad Max: Fury Road (2015), Gods of Egypt (2016), Ruben Guthrie (2015)) and Gigi ( Bella Heathcote - Dark Shadows (2012), Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2016), In Time (2011)) are threatened by Jesse.

Jesse won the hearts of everyone not competing with her. She was asked to be the highlight of a fashion show that Sarah was also auditioning for. Sarah was devastated while Jesse was so ecstatic that she accidentally cut her hand, and Sarah tries to drink her blood. Ruby stopped protecting Jesse after her personality changed with her fame and after Ruby could not get what she wanted from Jesse.

I gave this movie a five because the visual effects were purely amazing, great moments/scenes, the juxtaposition of color palettes, haunting black backgrounds, and special effects. I gave this film a five because how visually beautiful is it and also because the cinematographer needs a round of applause because she did an excellent job capturing Los Angeles vividly. The raw nightclub necrophilic sex scenes were so not needed. I wish the director had spent more time to give us a satisfying storyline with character arcs. I was grossed out when I saw Ruby with the corpse. The actors gave average performances, but the movie did not have much of a storyline to feel emotions toward the characters. I would recommend viewers to watch this film for the visual feast it has to offer and nothing else.

About The Neon Demon 2016

Title: The Neon Demon
Year: 2016
Runtime: 118 minutes
Type: Movie
Genre: Horror, Thriller, Drama
Score: 2.5 / 5 stars
Avg. Rating: 3/5 stars from 10 users.
Total Avg. Votes: 10
MPAA Rating: R
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Jena Malone, Abbey Lee, Alessandro Nivola, Desmond Harrington, Rhoda Pell, Elle Fanning, Bella Heathcote, Cody Renee Cameron, Lauren Reeder, Christina Hendricks, Tea Jo, Karl Glusman, Samantha Miller, Rebecca Kiser, Taylor Marie Hill, Frances Parsons, Jaydn Meier, Liv Corfixen, Cameron Brinkman, Kiera Smith, Rebecca Dayan, Autumn Alderson, Vanessa Martinez, Lucas Di Medio, Lucy Cronkite, Jason Schneidman, Keilina Jones, Bridgham Davidson, Rachel Dik
Writers: Nicolas Winding Refn, Mary Laws, Polly Stenham
Director: Nicolas Winding Refn