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The Neon Demon

Thriller . Horror

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.

Actors: Elle Fanning , Karl Glusman , Jena Malone , Bella Heathcote , Abbey Lee , Keanu Reeves , Christina Hendricks , Desmond Harrington , Alessandro Nivola , Charles Baker
Directors: Nicolas Winding Refn
Release: 2016-06-08
More Info:
  • Robbie Collin

    When the film reaches its logical end point, Refn just keeps pushing, and eventually lands on a sequence so jaw-dropping...that all you can do is howl or cheer.

    The Telegraph Full Review
  • Portrayed by a mesmerizing Elle Fanning (Maleficent, Trumbo) in a magnificent, heart-stopping star turn.

    Philadelphia Inquirer Full Review
  • Drew McWeeny

    The Neon Demon’s going to frustrate anyone who goes in looking for a conventional film or a thriller that has any interest in actually scaring you. This is a ride, a carefully crafted experience, and it is precisely because it is so immersive and controlled that I would recommend it.

    Hitfix Full Review
  • Michael Roffman

    This is a film predicated on voyeurism, and while it’s arguably another big ol’ starefest from Refn, the viewer’s patience is earned with unquestionable tension made all the more palpable by its troubled protagonist.

    Consequence of Sound Full Review
  • Jessica Kiang

    Spectacular, gross and delicious (so unsavory it’s almost sweet), the film is more proof of Refn’s mastery of his trash aesthetic and more fun than anything this indulgent and empty-headed has any right to be.

    The Playlist Full Review
  • Britt Hayes

    Set to an electrifying score by frequent Refn collaborator Cliff Martinez (which may be his best yet), The Neon Demon is as deceptive as shattered glass, with a brilliant beauty so mesmerizing that you don’t notice its murderously sharp edges until you’re bleeding all over the floor.

    ScreenCrush Full Review
  • Justin Chang

    Languorously paced and literally dressed to kill, the movie is a corrosive attack on beauty — or at least our soulless, corporatized definition of the term — but it is also, above all else, a hypnotically beautiful object.

    Los Angeles Times Full Review
  • Andrew O'Hehir

    If you want a movie that eviscerates “The Hunger” and eats its bloody insides while daring you to look away, here it is. Full Review
  • Josh Kupecki

    He's like the bizarro version of Wes Anderson’s same meticulous attention to detail, but while you can tell Anderson wants to entertain you with a story, Refn is clearly more interested in mood and highly stylized provocation. With The Neon Demon, he more or less succeeds.

    Austin Chronicle Full Review
  • Rene Rodriguez

    The Neon Demon is a voluptuous provocation, a stylish free-fall down a gonzo rabbit hole that is as entrancing as it is maddening. Here is a rarity in this season of summer movie doldrums: A film that is guaranteed to elicit strong reactions.

    Miami Herald Full Review
  • A.A. Dowd

    Style doesn’t triumph over substance in The Neon Demon. It devours it.

    The A.V. Club Full Review
  • Stephanie Zacharek

    The Neon Demon isn’t much of movie, at least if you’re looking for an actual story. Nor is it a moralistic fable about the emptiness of Hollywood—if anything, it’s a winking mockery of that sort of thing. But whatever the heck it is, it throws off a chilly, pleasurable sheen. This is visual hard candy.

    Time Full Review
  • Eric Kohn

    While always an amusingly twisted ride, The Neon Demon is marred by pensive stares and monotone monologues about superficial desires that drag on, and on. Fortunately, Refn treasures shock value over all else, and his movie delivers on that promise with a depraved third act.

    indieWIRE Full Review
  • Tasha Robinson

    The heavy threat of sexual assault, physical consumption, and predatory control hangs over the film's treacherous first hour, but once the threat resolves, Neon Demon loses its tension and its power, and then just keeps going.

    The Verge Full Review
  • Brian Truitt

    Characters only exist as empty archetypal vessels and some of the wackier elements are laughably campy, but Refn’s sumptuous visuals and disco-synth score help give Neon Demon undeniably sinister style.

    USA Today Full Review
  • Simon Abrams

    The Neon Demon only works when Refn finds the right middle ground between obliquely hinting at and explicitly spelling out what his movie's about. Full Review
  • Jamie Graham

    A shallow, slow-burn horror that takes an age to get to the strong meat but looks good doing it.

    Total Film Full Review
  • April Wolfe

    Whether or not you connect with Refn's brand of over-the-top violence, you can't deny that his attention to color, texture, and music is nearly unmatched by other directors working today.

    Village Voice Full Review
  • Ian Freer

    The Neon Demon pulls off the unique feat of being both boring and bravura all at once. Like the world it depicts, it’s a feast for the eyes but little else.

    Empire Full Review
  • Peter Bradshaw

    When Fanning is off screen, we are marooned in a fashion shoot in a hell of silliness. Yet her star quality gives The Neon Demon what substance it has, and Refn’s film-making has self-belief and panache. Take it or leave it.

    The Guardian Full Review
  • Dave Calhoun

    There's little humour, and strip away the styling and what it has to say about fashion has been said a thousand times before. But there's a mesmerising strangeness to Refn's vision that can't be denied, and Fanning does an especially good job of portraying innocence lost in the belly of the fashion beast.

    Time Out London Full Review
  • Roger Moore

    Refn’s skewering of this empire of awfulness is undercut by his plodding, portentous pacing.

    Movie Nation Full Review
  • Richard Roeper

    For a film so aggressively intent on Big Shock Moments (cannibalism and lesbian necrophilia, anyone?), it’s more often stultifying and tedious than provocative.

    Chicago Sun-Times Full Review
  • Tom Russo

    Elle Fanning is impeccably cast as Jesse, a quiet, sweet-natured ingénue shuttling between sketchy photo shoots and her clichéd newcomer’s digs in a seedy Pasadena motel.

    Boston Globe Full Review
  • Robert Abele

    The polished assuredness under which Refn operates is considerable, and even appealing, and yet there’s always one element in any given scene — a music cue, a banal sound choice, a shot held until it screams “look at me” — that breaks the mood.

    TheWrap Full Review
  • David Lewis

    The narratively challenged film seems conflicted: It critiques our obsession with models and beauty and style, even as it obsesses about those very same things. There is a lot of flash, but little substance.

    San Francisco Chronicle Full Review
  • Sam C. Mac

    The simmering insinuations of Nicolas Winding Refn's film eventually flower into full-on exploitation.

    Slant Magazine Full Review
  • Owen Gleiberman

    The Neon Demon is a tease. It starts off as a relatively scannable, user-friendly thriller, but it turns out to be a movie made by a macabre surrealist gross-out prankster.

    Variety Full Review
  • Wendy Ide

    Refn’s gifts as a visual stylist are employed to arresting effect - there’s a luxuriant use of colour which evokes the work of fashion photographer Guy Bourdin. But peel back the glossy, overly groomed surface and there is not a lot of substance underneath.

    Screen International Full Review
  • Bill Goodykoontz

    The film is visually striking, even if the images don’t always make sense.

    Arizona Republic Full Review
  • Anthony Lane

    By the end of the movie, Refn has toyed with cannibalism, lesbian necrophilia, the egestion of an eyeball, and other minor sports, all of them filmed in lavish taste. It’s enough to make you reflect longingly on the Agatha Christie drama that he made for British TV in 2007. Say what you like about Miss Marple, at least she merely questioned her suspects. She didn’t eat them for tea.

    The New Yorker Full Review
  • Todd McCarthy

    The intended metaphors and commentary about the interchangeability and disposability of bodies are entirely clear, although from the evidence it would appear that Refn is perhaps even more entranced by the surface glamour of the world he so voluptuously depicts than he is repelled by it.

    The Hollywood Reporter Full Review
  • John Bleasdale

    The fact of the matter is that Refn has now become so predictably shocking that the truly shocking thing for him to do would be to make a film without attempting to shock.

    CineVue Full Review
  • Kate Taylor

    There remains a nasty whiff here of a movie that is trotting out lesbian love interests and clawing cat fights for male titillation. With fashion taking the place of ballet, The Neon Demon may well prove controversial in a "Black Swan" kind of way, offering a love-it-or-hate-it debate over the appeal of its melodrama versus the politics of its social critique.

    The Globe and Mail (Toronto) Full Review
  • Soren Andersen

    It’s pretty. It’s empty. It’s pretty empty.

    The Seattle Times Full Review
  • Sara Stewart

    It’s too bad there’s already a movie out this week called “The Shallows”; it would work so perfectly for the new film from Nicholas Winding Refn (“Drive”).

    New York Post Full Review
  • Peter Travers

    What I can't buy is that Refn has made a movie this lifeless and devoid of human interest.

    Rolling Stone Full Review
  • Kevin P. Sullivan

    The dialogue, most of which is stilted philosophy about femininity and beauty, sounds like something your freshman-year roommate said and you learned to ignore.

    Entertainment Weekly Full Review
  • Glenn Kenny

    The Neon Demon is hot garbage that dares you to call it offensive. In addition, it’s offensive.

    The New York Times Full Review
  • Edward Douglas

    Presumed to be Nicolas Refn's foray into the horror genre, but apparently, no one bothered to tell the filmmaker that.

    New York Daily News Full Review
  • Michael O'Sullivan

    If Refn is trying to skewer our cultural fixation with youth and good looks, his blade isn’t up to the task. The Neon Demon attacks, but indiscriminately. It’s sharp-looking but dull, hacking and plunging every which way, yet drawing no real blood.

    Washington Post Full Review
  • Steve Persall

    What truly makes The Neon Demon frustrating is Refn's undeniable talent for arresting images. His color schemes and framing make each second fascinating to observe, even when the dialogue is stultifying.

    Tampa Bay Times Full Review
  • Giovanni Marchini Camia

    The director has set out to make the most repellently misogynistic film imaginable, yet he’s disguised it as a postmodern feminist satire. By shattering every possible taboo, the film is supposed to be an attack against the very thing it represents. Really, though, any semblance of commentary is simply a posture for Winding Refn to cover his ass.

    The Film Stage Full Review
  • James Berardinelli

    Horror fans will be so bored by the first 90 minutes that they will have either walked out or fallen into a coma by the time the blood starts flowing.

    ReelViews Full Review
  • Rex Reed

    The Neon Demon, which was booed off the screen this year in Cannes, is about jealousy, murder and cannibalism in the Hollywood modeling industry. If it wasn’t so stupid and preposterous, I’d say see it for the laughs, but trust me when I say you’re on your own — and I mean it.

    New York Observer Full Review
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