The Neon Demon (2016)

The modelling world will chew you up and spit you right out…

When aspiring model Jesse moves to Los Angeles, her youth and vitality are devoured by a group of beauty obsessed women who will take any means necessary to get what she has.

It seems The Neon Demon is one of those films that demands a reaction, arguments can be made against the pros and cons of this slick, cold film but ultimately your left with either loving or hating it. I went in with the expectation that it was going to be dark, campy and weird, which it was in way, but basically it was just super boring.

Nicholas Winding Refn suspends narrative for eye popping cinematography. Seductively stylish in fluoro reds and blues, The Neon Demon takes a satiric look into the ugly world of supermodels and high end fashion shoots but results in a contrived underdeveloped plot with thinly written characters.

The movie drips in symbolism, most of its narrative really forcing you to read between the lines as it plays out like a hallucinatory dream / nightmare over the Los Angeles fashion world. Unfortunately, style over substance doesn’t win here, instead I am left burrowing my brow at long scenes of nothingness and frustrating dialogue – “I use to yell at the moon CAN YOU SEE ME NOW?”

… what?

 The Neon Demon is a slow burn, but the final twenty minutes left me wanting more, and it was already a very long movie, clocking in at 118 minutes. For me it ended just as it was getting good and I would had preferred the story to focus more on the horrific elements of cannibalism, then the grandiose scenes of mirror images and necrophilia.

The Neon Demon is a feast for the eyes, but the elation of colour isn’t enough for a meagre storyline. NWR seesaws between campy gore and a pretentions high brow art piece. Unsatisfyingly slow with no character development, The Neon Demon was an empty experience… At least its pretty.

“You know what my mother used to call me? Dangerous. “You’re a dangerous girl”. She was right. I am dangerous.” 

3.0 / 10

Sinister 2 (2015)

Deputy So and So will you marry me?

A protective young mother and her two boys move into a rural house that’s marked for death as the evil spirit of Bughuul continues…

Ciaran Foy continues the story begun by Scott Derrickson in 2012 with the creepily effective snuff film Sinister. Foy’s Sinister 2, although has the right ingredients, unfortunately lacks flavour. That isn’t to say it’s bad, it just doesn’t possess the same charm and originality as its predecessor. The success of Sinister was that the first half comes across as an interesting murder mystery puzzle, to only have it turned on its head and revealed as a supernatural horror. Here we are fully aware of who and what Bughuul is – the well dressed tuxedo wearing demon who has a love of old school vintage 8mm camera’s – which is what takes away the enticing mystery.

For what they did with the sequel, it wasn’t a bad direction to go with – from the children’s perspective. However, it just wasn’t explored deep enough. It all felt very Children of the Corn, creepy pale kids, dead eyes, been there, seen it, move on. The brothers bond too felt a little underdeveloped… Was one of the twins seriously jealous over demon favouritism? Or was he just a shitty kid?

I preferred this film for its family drama, then for its horror elements. The family killings are again quite graphic but weren’t as terrifying as the first, they were a little too over the top in design to really believe a child could physically manoeuvre these murders to take place.

Let’s be real though, if Deputy So & So wasn’t in this movie I would have liked it less. James Ransone’s too brief appearance in Sinister was always a secret favourite of mine. I absolutely love the goofy charm of his, it will always win me over.

Sinister 2 is far from perfect, its ambitious ideas are thwarted by the use of cliché jump scares. But Deputy So and So steals my heart away so I couldn’t help but like it.

6.0 / 10

“I’m not gonna let him finish that movie!”