The Neon Demon (2016)★★★☆☆


I’m not sure where I heard about this movie originally, but IMDb had it listed under the Horror and Thriller genres and the cast looked interesting so I figured I’d give it a try. I almost regret it. Not quite, but almost.

This movie is definitely weird, but not the kind of weird that I usually like. It’s hard to even tell it’s a horror movie until the last twenty minutes or so, and it definitely doesn’t feel like a thriller at any point.

First of all, it’s too slow. I’ve said it before, but that deliberately slow-moving direction just doesn’t do it for me. I’m almost tempted to watch movies like that at 1.5x speed. But I sat through this whole movie at normal speed and…well, it was a movie.

Second, there’s no mystery here. You’re basically shown what’s going to happen, and then that happens. Sure, it gets a bit extreme at the end, but I wouldn’t call it a “twist.” (Possible spoilers ahead) You knew those girls were predatory from the start and that Jesse was in over her head. There’s no real irony here.

Third, it feels far too heavy handed in its social commentary about our obsession with beauty to really be a thriller. Again, there’s no mystery here and the only built up tension is sexual. And there’s very little payoff there.

Also, the interesting cast is a bit misleading. Keanu Reeves plays a skeevy motel owner whose character seems superfluous. Christina Hendricks is only in it for five minutes. And I love Jena Malone, but this role definitely wasn’t her most endearing.

Overall this is a slow-paced movie with a lot of flash and not much of anything else. It’s definitely more background noise than active entertainment. I’m rating it at three out of five because it’s a very pretty film, and it’s well acted. Plus I have a thing for Desmond Harrington. Which puts me in the mood for another scary movie he’s in. Maybe for tomorrow!