Morbidly Beautiful

Your Home for Horror

Bloody Blog

The Neon Demon offers a chilling look at the ugly side of professional modeling, and the film, like its subject matter, is as horrifying as it is beautiful. 

Beauty isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.”

Neon DemonGear­ing his lat­est film towards a teenage audi­ence, Nico­las Wind­ing Refn’s The Neon Demon takes us on a visu­al­ly stun­ning expe­ri­ence of the cut-throat side to L.A’s noto­ri­ous fash­ion indus­try. Refn also incor­po­rates the visu­al cues he uses in his every­day life, while offer­ing an advanced plot line that suc­cess­ful­ly pro­vokes his audi­ence and forces them to ques­tion how our society’s val­ues have great­ly shift­ed over time.

Tack­ling var­i­ous indus­try taboos and explor­ing the numer­ous ideals of how beau­ty can be man­u­fac­tured, we quick­ly learn that Refn’s demon is any­thing but gener­ic. The Neon Demon offers a fresh and refined addi­tion to the hor­ror genre, which tru­ly leaves one with a lot to reflect on after.

Neon Demon

Orig­i­nal­ly intend­ed as a com­e­dy, “The Neon Demon” was quick­ly and quite wide­ly accept­ed into the hor­ror genre because of its dark humor, bla­tant insults towards indus­try taboos, and of course a grue­some end­ing you won’t soon for­get. Refn isn’t afraid to express his ideals about the amount of occultism he feels is pre­dom­i­nant in the fash­ion indus­try. He also prefers to focus on char­ac­ters which expe­ri­ence some type of trans­for­ma­tion based on their expe­ri­ences.

In the DVD com­men­tary, Refn reveals that he believes “potent sto­ries are told more effec­tive­ly when they have that fairy tale qual­i­ty,” and The Neon Demon pro­vides just that.

The film fol­lows a young woman, Jesse (Elle Fan­ning), whose decid­ed to pur­sue a mod­el­ing career in L.A. While she tru­ly has noth­ing to lose, she strug­gles great­ly with the image she has of her­self. She knows she’s beau­ti­ful but is unsure if the ori­gin of it is based on her own def­i­n­i­tion or that of those she’s now sur­round­ed by.

The film opens with intense strobe effects and a pulse pound­ing tech­no beat, which re-occurs through­out tense scenes in the film, pro­vid­ing an eerie feel­ing of loom­ing dan­ger as the film pro­gress­es. As the cam­era pans towards a young woman lay­ing on a couch with blood drip­ping from her slashed throat, it is here where we first get to expe­ri­ence Refn’s unique visu­al style.

Refn’s film offers the view­er a col­or bal­ance not often used, due to the fact that he is col­or blind. As a result, the red/blue con­trast must be set high­er than nor­mal to allow him to see the film. The use of this high con­trast con­trast is equal­ly effec­tive in terms of por­tray­ing emo­tion. It isn’t long into the open­ing scene before it is revealed that this grue­some open­ing scene is mere­ly a pho­to shoot, but it also pro­vides fore­warn­ing into what’s in store for Jesse lat­er.

As she nav­i­gates her way through unusu­al encoun­ters, the harsh real­i­ties of mod­el­ing agen­cies and jeal­ous com­pe­ti­tion, Jesse begins to trans­form into a more con­fi­dent — yet not nec­es­sar­i­ly wis­er — young woman. She’s befriend by an indus­try make-up artist named Ruby (Jena Mal­one) and her two friends, Sarah (Abbey Lee) and Gigi (Bel­la Heath­cote), which is often when we expe­ri­ence the intense scenes of red, warn­ing us of the impend­ing dan­ger that comes with the asso­ci­a­tion of her new friends.

As Jesse is becom­ing more aware of her appear­ance, it is very clear that her naivety is still very predominant…or per­haps the suc­cess is too blind­ing.  Jesse’s final trans­for­ma­tion to ‘the dark side’ is shown through scenes of blue, which then tran­si­tion into red as her char­ac­ter enters a new realm clos­er to dan­ger, her­self.

The Neon Demon offers so much more than the aver­age amount of gore in a great hor­ror flick, while the mount­ing sus­pense as you delve deep­er into the char­ac­ters tru­ly allows you to expe­ri­ence the film the way Refn intend­ed.

Heav­i­ly crit­i­cized for its por­tray­al of beau­ty yet refresh­ing­ly accu­rate to today’s stan­dards, I high­ly rec­om­mend The Neon Demon for those of you look­ing for some­thing deep­er and diver­gent.

The Neon Demon is now streaming on Amazon Prime. 

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Allowed tags:  you may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="">, <strong>, <em>, <h1>, <h2>, <h3>
Please note:  all comments go through moderation.