Drive director returns with hardcore horror movie The Neon Demon

The Neon Demon stars Elle Fanning and Keanu Reeves.

The Neon Demon Elle Fanning
One Elle of a trailer Elle Fanning plays a fashion model whose beauty is a hot commodity. Image Picture Icon Film Distribution

The director behind Drive and Only God Forgives has returned with a horror film to scare the hell out of you.

Fresh from the news that The Neon Demon will screen in competition at the Cannes Film Festival, the first trailer for Nicolas Winding Refn’s film has surfaced.

It’s a lightning-quick affair, but teases plenty of bold imagery, a humming synth soundtrack and explicit nudity.

Starring Elle Fanning, the film centres on model Jesse as she moves to Los Angeles only to find her youth devoured by a group of beauty-obsessed women who will use any means necessary to get what she has.

Part shit-scary horror film, part satire on the shallowness of the fashion industry, this looks like it could be a return to form for Refn after he took a critical pasting with Only God Forgives.

The Danish director put himself on the map back in 2011 with Drive, which quickly became a cult favourite and launched a thousand bad Halloween costumes based on Ryan Gosling’s lead character.

“I wanted to work with a young woman. Elle Fanning is like unearthly, she’s just extraordinary.”

Alongside Fanning, The Neon Demon features Keanu Reeves, Mad Men’s Christina Hendricks, Jenna Malone, Bella Heathcote and Abbey Lee among its cast.

After working on bloke-heavy films in the past, including Bronson and the Pusher trilogy, Refn admitted that he wanted to make Neon Demon so he could work with a predominantly female cast.

“What I was interested in, having [previously] worked with three men, was that I would like to work with an all-female cast,” he said. “Not all-female, but I wanted to work with a young woman. Elle Fanning is like unearthly, she’s just extraordinary.”

The Neon Demon will premiere at Cannes in May before hitting cinemas proper this summer.

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Loaded digital media manager Simon Reynolds has written about film and entertainment for various leading websites since 2008. Follow Simon at @simonreyn

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