“Are you sex or are you food?” In ancient times there were many stories of witches who would consume young people in order to absorb their life essence. “The Neon Demon” asks the question- “If such a coven of witches existed today where would they go to find young beautiful people who would not be missed?” The answer of course is Hollywood.
The film follows Jessie, a 16 year old girl from the Midwest who travels to California in hopes of starting a career as a professional model. Along the way she becomes both a friend and rival to 3 other models named Ruby, Gigi and Sara. Jessie has a natural beauty that allows her to steamroll over all her competition and she goes from being a very shy withdrawn girl to a creature of pure surface and plane. This narcissistic emanation coming from within Jesses core is the manifestation of the Neon Demon. The 3 other models Converge on her and tear her to Pieces. They consume her flesh and bathe in her blood in hopes that they will be able to absorb this energy of pure surface-level physicality. The ritualistic cannibalism seems to work as Sarah and Gigi immediately get a gig working with one of the most famous photographers in the area while Ruby dances around naked, giddy in her garden of Macabre delights.
This movie is from the same director as “Drive” and “Only God Forgives” so it has the same style of beautiful shots, dark themes and wonderful soundtrack one would expect from his work. Keanu Reeves plays a small but very memorable role as a sleazy Motel manager and I wish he had been in all of the movie, unfortunately he just disappears halfway through the film. This is not a film for squeamish people, in addition to the gore it has a rather perverse sex scene and I don’t suggest mentioning this as a possible idea for movie group night. The last thing you want is to be the person who says “hey let’s watch the Neon Demon!” only to have your friends and family keep giving you the side-eye for the next few weeks.
If you’re looking for a beautiful but dark and disturbing film this is perfect, if you’re of a more sensitive sort you might be better off watching something like “Teen Witch”.- Zwahk (Image from Unsplash.com)