Watch the twisted first trailer for The Neon Demon

Drive director Nicolas Winding Refn has returned with a female-focused horror about the modelling industry

After disturbing audiences with the Ryan Gosling-led Drive and Only God Forgives, Nicolas Winding Refn’s The Neon Demon has been long-awaited. The twisted new horror – which has just been announced as a Cannes contender – stars Elle Fanning as an aspiring model, who ends up being consumed by the “vicious beauty” culture of the industry.

It’s a new direction for the Danish director, who normally deals with damaged machismo – and one that he clarified in a 2014 Hollywood Reporter interview. “One morning I woke and realised I was both surrounded and dominated by women,” he explained. “Strangely, a sudden urge was planted in me to make a horror film about vicious beauty... This movie is a manifestation of the strong ties between us and will lead to many more adventures.”

Refn, who is known for his slick, neon-lit ultra-violence, has enlisted the help of Keanu Reeves, Abbey Lee Kershaw and Jena Malone for the film. He’s also working again with composer Cliff Martinez and editor Matthew Newman. 

The Neon Demon will have its world premiere in the Official Competition of the 69th Cannes film festival, with Amazon Studios set to release the film in June.