The Neon Demon (2016) Review

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Jesse is an aspiring model who has recently moved to California and it’s not long until her age makes some older models extremely jealous.

In all honesty I have no idea where to start when trying to sum up and review this bizarre film. At times I could not believe I was actually watching these things on screen, deep throating a knife, Pedophilia, rape, cannibalism and the worst necrophilia. Not forgetting,  the eyeball scene . . . Honestly just why?

That has to be my main thought whilst watching this film that was trying ever so hard to be cool and stylish and shock the audience. The main problem with it all though had to be the terrible acting from all involved. Especially Elle Fanning, she is just awful. Maybe she is supposed to just be playing that model role well of being nothing special in terms of having talent etc and she is just beautiful. Well, if she was actually beautiful and stunning maybe it would be more believable as a whole. Ok nothing can make the scenes in this film seem real as it was so off the wall it was almost laughable.

Having just arrived in the town Jesse appears to be such a vulnerable young woman at only 16 years old, we get a half story that her parents are dead? Not something that is every properly confirmed. But straight away it is evident that people pay attention to her for not great reasons really wanting her body. Ruby soon forces herself to become a friend or so we think but her motives are not as pure as they may first seem.

At times it is difficult to decipher which moments are “real” and which are dreams, as the line between these two seems to be very very fine. That doesn’t make some of the sequences to be any less strange though. It’s not very often that I see something that makes me doubt watching films but this one certainly did do just that. I was thinking what on earth is the point in this and I have wasted 117 minutes when I could have been watching something that I actually enjoyed.

I know this has been pretty well received but I really cannot understand why. I was actually pleased to read that it was booed when it finished at the Cannes film festival as that gives me some hope! I understand the want and need for it to be groundbreaking but just thinking about the most horrible and obscene things imaginably that will make an audience uncomfortable and not want to actually look at the screen.

We don’t get a lot of dialogue throughout which in hindsight was probably a good thing as some of the dialogue was absolutely dreadful. It was painful in fact. I will therefore not be recommending this film to watch but recommending that you totally avoid it. I have tortured myself by watching it so you certainly don’t have to do the same! The worst thing is that this film has such a buzz in the film bloggers world with so many people disappointed it is not on at a cinema near them in the UK. I now truly understand why and actually quite amazed my local Cineworld offered it for viewing. I was curious to what would warrant an 18 rating now as not something we see very often, it appears that someone having a sex scene with a corpse will certainly do that for a film.

If you have also been unlucky enough to catch this film please let me know if you hated it as much as I did or you for some reason (explain) loved it. As I am pretty sure this is a very massive love or hate film with no in-between of it was ok/alright!

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17 thoughts on “The Neon Demon (2016) Review

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  1. I’ve heard so many good things but also plenty of bad. I’m not a fan of Refn so this movie hasn’t interested me. Judging by what you say I’m glad I skipped it.

    1. Its pretty crazy that a film can have so many good things and plenty of bad things said about it! I couldn’t believe what I was watching at times, horrendous.

  2. I’m not sure I enjoyed it, but I was certainly compelled and it was, objectively, a beautifully shot film with a great score. I was intrigued and never bored so I thought it was good from a technical perspective. But I did get annoyed at the pretentiousness of a few of the scenes

  3. Not sure I want to see this. I liked Bronson and Drive is my favourite film of all time, but this sounds like it’s more in the Only God Forgives category.

    1. I haven’t seen any of his previous films and this one hasn’t convinced me to want to in all honesty. I’m sure I’ve tried to watch Drive and couldn’t get into it – might have to give that one another go!

      1. I didn’t think much of Drive to start with but the ending breaks my heart and the more I watch it, the more I love it. I wouldn’t recommend Valhalla Rising or Only God Forgives as they are a mess. I’d watch Bronson for the stunning performance of Tom Hardy 🙂

  4. Such a pile of crap. At least it kept me engaged from start to finish unlike Only God Forgives. Like I said…not sure why he’d choose this topic to cover of all things? Whyyyyy??

  5. Totally get your points but Winding Refn’s films do “split the room” and divide opinion. DRIVE with Ryan Gosling was brilliant while ONLY GOD FORGIVES with Gosling was nihilistic and unwatchable. I think NEON DEMON works really well as a hyper real and surreal horror film that savagely satirises the fashion industry. Certainly anti-narrative with the acting more down to the director’s style than poor performance. Definitely more art cinema than multiplex popcorn fodder.

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