The Neon Noir genre has lately found a strong advocate in director Nicolas Winding Refn, who has experimented with the style in Drive (2012), Only God Forgives (2013) and brought it to sublimation in his 2016 release The Neon Demon.
As a daring psychological thriller set in the L.A. fashion industry, the film has received a lot of contradictory critiques, though one thing is clear: the sinister aesthetic style is smashing it! As the A.V. Club review put it: "Style doesn’t triumph over substance in The Neon Demon. It devours it."
Refn is colourblind, so he can't perceive colour hues unless they are strongly contrasted. This has brought the director to develop a particular affinity for neon, he says: "I grew up in the early ‘80s when neon became a design concept… I've loved neon ever since I was little."
The vibrant colour palette of the film may seem uncustomary for a horror movie, but the effect is astounding: The cruel phosphorescent tints express the disturbingly beautiful and inhumane aspects of the fashion world, while maintaining an unnervingly sinister atmosphere.