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The Neon Demon (2016)

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An aspiring model, Jesse, is new to Los Angeles. However, her beauty and youth, which generate intense fascination and jealousy within the fashion industry, may prove themselves sinister.


Nicolas Winding Refn (story by), Nicolas Winding Refn (screenplay by) | 2 more credits »
1,005 ( 28)
18 wins & 36 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Elle Fanning ... Jesse
Karl Glusman ... Dean
Jena Malone ... Ruby
Bella Heathcote ... Gigi
Abbey Lee ... Sarah
Desmond Harrington ... Jack
Christina Hendricks ... Roberta Hoffmann
Keanu Reeves ... Hank
Charles Baker ... Mikey
Jamie Clayton ... Casting Director
Stacey Danger ... Casting Assistant
Rebecca Dayan ... Dresser
Helen Wilson Helen Wilson ... Seamstress
Houda Shretah Houda Shretah ... Roberto Sarno's Assistant
Taylor Marie Hill ... Flirty Model #1 (as Taylor Hill)


The sixteen year-old aspiring model Jesse arrives in Los Angeles expecting to be a successful model. The aspirant photographer Dean takes photos for her portfolio and dates her. Jesse befriends the lesbian makeup artist Ruby and then the envious models Gigi and Sarah in a party. Meanwhile, the agency considers Jesse beautiful with a "thing" that makes her different and she is sent to the professional photographer Jack. Jesse attracts the attention of the industry and experiences a successful beginning of her career. Ruby, Gigi and Sarah, however, will do whatever is necessary to get this "thing" for themselves. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


A Glittering, Etherised Nightmare! See more »


Horror | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for disturbing violent content, bloody images, graphic nudity, a scene of aberrant sexuality, and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »


Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site | See more »


Denmark | France | USA | UK



Release Date:

24 June 2016 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Neon Demon See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA See more »


Box Office


$7,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$589,014, 26 June 2016, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$1,333,124, 4 August 2016

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$1,333,124, 4 August 2016
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | Datasat | SDDS



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Keanu Reeves improvised the line "Room Two-Fourteen! Gotta be seen!" See more »


When Jesse locks her motel room door about halfway through the movie, the deadbolt goes from locked to unlocked and back to locked between shots. See more »


Ruby: Am I staring?
Jesse: A little.
Ruby: Sorry... you just have such beautiful skin. I'm Ruby by the way. Do you have a name or you want me to guess?
Jesse: Jesse.
Ruby: Jesse. And you just get to LA Jesse?
Jesse: How'd you know?
Ruby: You've got that look. Oh don't worry honey, that whole deer in the headlights thing is exactly what they want.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The theatrical R-rated version and unrated version are different only in the second morgue scene as follows: (A) Female genital nudity is depicted 1 hour 29 minutes and 0 seconds into the film. In the R rated version (which played in US theaters), when Ruby was kissing the corpse (played by a female actress), the bottom of the frame showed the upper half of the vulva (inclusive of somewhat blurred labia, due to the camera focus on the kissing). In the "unrated" version (NOT the theatrical version or the director's narrative - which both emulate the R rated version seen in US theaters), that same moment depicts VERY clear labial exposure (as in medical clarity, yet artistically depicted). (B) Note that the unrated version also shows Ruby's hand brush along the genitalia as it sweeps up to the left breast (R rated version prolongs the cut-away to the Jessie fantasy shot), and also depicts Ruby bouncing on the corpse as she reaches orgasm (while the R rated version shows only the close up of her face). The foley work and soundtrack during the unrated morgue scene are subtly but noticeably different. In short, the unrated cut sounds a lot more "squishy" with ample "smacking" sounds. The uncut version appears to be available through iTunes only, despite being an Amazon production,which you can find here: https://itunes.apple.com/mt/movie/the-neon-demon/id1129719992 (That means if you want to watch it on a TV you'll need an AppleTV to play it). See more »


References Liquid Sky (1982) See more »


Waving Goodbye
Performed by Sia
Produced & Engineered by Diplo & Djemba Djemba
Written by Sia
Recorded at Mad Decent Studios
Sia appears courtesy of Monkey Puzzle Records
Diplo appears courtesy of Mad Decent
See more »

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User Reviews

Utterly Fantastic, but Not for Everyone
21 June 2016 | by jzonda415See all my reviews

I will preface this by saying that if you haven't seen any other Refn movies, like "Drive" or "Only God Forgives," then you should see those first to see what you're getting into. I thoroughly loved this film, and will stand by in saying that it's an incredible movie. However, if you can't get through Refn's other works, or didn't really "get" them, then it won't deliver the same payoff that I received. To clarify, I'm not saying that if you hate this movie then you "just don't get it." But, seek out other Refn works first to see if you'll like something like this.

This is an incredibly cerebral experience. It's is a lot of silent and dialogue free moments where you take in the world the movie cultivates. The cinematography, like in all of Refn's movies, is simply stunning. The colors craft the tone of the movie so effectively it tells a whole story with just itself; it almost is another character. Every shot feels expertly crafted, well put together, like a painting. No time in this 2 hour movie ever feels that wasted. Every shot feels necessary, every frame is splendid.

The acting is also on point. Elle Fanning is perfectly cast as the main girl in this film. Her innocence, her shyness, her entire persona is conveyed very effectively. Many of the side characters also fit their character well. Keanu Reeves fit his character well, along with Abbey Lee. But Jena Malone stood out especially to me. The mannerisms of her character, the subtleties, the way she talked was fantastic. Without spoiling anything, a certain scene in this movie with Malone contains so much passion and emotion that I was completely blown away. She, along with Fanning, were my favorite parts of this.

I would recommend this movie wholeheartedly, even knowing that it's really not for everyone. It's beyond strange and weird, and is a lot more visual storytelling than a solid narrative. It still has a story, nonetheless. If you're into that, then this may be for you, and you be able to get into it. If you're not, or are skeptical, then you will be disappointed. Nonetheless, I standby in saying this is a great film, and that there ought to be something in it you can enjoy.

It's weird, it's strange, it's unique, it's f*cked-up, but it's also fantastic.


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