The Neon Demon is a flashy and beautiful film set in the modeling industry in Los Angeles. As the movie plays the use of lights and editing techniques makes it feel as though you are in some cases watching an art installation come to life. At first glance you would not expect this to be a horror film, but as it progresses the darkness that lies within the world of the models slowly begins to leak out.
Elle Fanning stars as Jesse, an aspiring model who has recently moved to Los Angeles. She immediately makes a splash on the scene and as she meets other models she learns that things are not always as they appear to be. Each of the older models become worried that this young girl will replace them. Beyond that they have all been pushing themselves to be perfect, which has included an almost Frankenstein’s monster level of corrective surgeries. Following a specific show Jesse is lauded as truly beautiful and one of the models she previously met is called out for being manufactured to be beautiful. This pushes Jesse and makes her feel superior to those surrounding her, but can that last with everyone around her longing to be in the spotlight?
As Jesse Elle Fanning provides a complex performance in which she shifts between a number of intense emotions and almost seems to shift personas. When we initially meet her she seems so frightened, but after her first show there is a level of confidence, almost cockiness that emerges. What makes her character so interesting is that she moves between these two elements of her personality fluidly and she can instantly go from confident to frightened again in an instant. The models around her are also surprisingly complex as they are all struggling with some element of strain that has come over them. The character that I found myself immediately wanting to know more about was Ruby, the makeup artist. There is something about her that just seems a bit too interested in Jesse from the start and I just kept waiting for something to happen between the two of them. The Neon Demon is a horror film that keeps you uneasy through a level of almost constant suspense. The world around Jesse is dangerous and deceptive, which will keep you wondering throughout.
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