The Neon Demon

Critics Consensus

The Neon Demon is seductively stylish, but Nicolas Winding Refn's assured eye can't quite compensate for an underdeveloped plot and thinly written characters.

59%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 254

51%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 9,086

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Movie Info

Jesse (Elle Fanning) moves to Los Angeles just after her 16th birthday to launch a career as a model. The head of her agency tells the innocent teen that she has the qualities to become a top star. Jesse soon faces the wrath of ruthless vixens who despise her fresh-faced beauty. On top of that, she must contend with a seedy motel manager and a creepy photographer. As Jesse starts to take the fashion world by storm, her personality changes in ways that could help her against her cutthroat rivals.

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Critic Reviews for The Neon Demon

All Critics (254) | Top Critics (48) | Fresh (149) | Rotten (105)

  • It is as sordid as it is entertainingly preposterous, as the director makes a misguided attempt at mansplaining the fashion world of Los Angeles.

    July 8, 2016 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

    Kate Muir

    Times (UK)
    Top Critic
  • A wonderfully stylish and stylised movie, an exercise in narcissism and grotesquerie in which director Nicolas Winding Refn takes a morbid pleasure in showing young and glamorous people behaving in a very ugly and self-obsessed fashion.

    July 7, 2016 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • The movie is either a sick dark joke or a multicoloured hoot, depending on your opinion. The only certainty: when in doubt Refn will have a character vomit up an eyeball.

    July 7, 2016 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • Pretentious and self-indulgent, it seems tailor-made to appeal to lovers of the obtuse and inscrutable until it takes a left-turn into schlocky, gore-drenched splatter imagery.

    June 26, 2016 | Rating: 0/4 | Full Review…
  • Archly silly, quotable, visually hypnotic and perfectly suited for repeat viewings. On first watch, the film is bizarre, hallucinatory, shockingly gruesome. A second watch unlocks the dumb-clever charms of Refn's script

    June 24, 2016 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
  • Refn is hardly the first moviemaker to find a link between supermodels and scary monsters, but he may be the most style-minded one to make the connection. Imagine an issue of Vogue with Maleficent as guest editor.

    June 24, 2016 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Neon Demon

  • May 07, 2019
    Refn's look at the LA model business plays it rather straight by his standards for quite a while. But this wouldn't be one of his films if it didn't end with weirdness and violence. While Refn plays with expectations, model stereotypes and voyeurism, it's up to the audience to decide what they take away from this. Here, obsession, jealousy and rejection lead to necrophilia and murder. That looks as stylish as you'd expect and is supported by a fitting electro soundtrack. And of course you're sent on your way with a really uneasy feeling in your guts as the end credits roll.
    Jens S Super Reviewer
  • Dec 26, 2017
    Visually striking movie I am not sure I fully understood, but enjoyed watching.
    Nicki M Super Reviewer
  • Nov 14, 2017
    Wow that was very weird
    Spencer M Super Reviewer
  • Mar 03, 2017
    The Neon Demon is a horror movie? starring Elle Fanning, Jena Malone, and Keanu Reeves. There's so much artistic douchebaggery going on that it's hard to get a handle on what kind of film this is. The story is your basic naïve teenage girl coming to Los Angeles to make it as a fashion model and finding that success inspires the homicidal envy of her peers. The sets and costume designs are incredibly well-done, and create a very visually rich look. But there's so much symbolism and metaphor going on that it's really difficult to follow the plot. A problematic film, The Neon Demon is a fascinating dark fairy tale that's just too artistic for its own good.
    Dann M Super Reviewer

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