Neon Lights (2022) Review by Mikayla Daniels

Neon Lights is a new to stream thriller film that is an example of what creative indie filmmaking can truly be. Initially I was worried by the title. I prepared myself for a neon light bath of film much like what the new Rob Zombie Munsters trailer gave us. Fortunately I was wrong. While neon lights are used in the film, and used in a very metaphorical way, it is not washing over the entire film. Many of the scenes feel gritty and tense and don’t have any bright lights in them at all.

“Tech tycoon, Clay Amani, retreats to an off the grid location in search of meaning and peace, with disconnected siblings and their offspring, only to be caught in a bone-chilling killing spree within his new estate.” The film stars Dana Abraham as Clay and veteran actor Kim Coates as Denver.

Dana wrote the script along with story by credit for director Rouzbeh Heydari. I had the chance to speak with Rouzbeh about the film and where the story came from, so you’ll want to check that out as well.

The story is ultimately about mental health and the team did extensive research into it in order to portray it in an accurate way and without stigma. I found the story to be well woven and it built up suspense and tension. This was an intense watch for me but not because of a ton of violence on screen, rather the film focuses on the emotions created by the actors in each scene.

The performances were well done and I think every actor here should be proud of their work on this film. A very performance heavy watch, it would have not worked at all without actors capable of pulling off strong emotions. Every actor makes you feel what they are going through, and that is the mark of an incredible artist.

It is a small cast which is why this film was able to be shot during covid. I have huge admiration for any filmmakers who worked on feature films during covid. I myself was working on set for one, and it was uniquely challenging. Film sets are alway a bit of a challenge under normal circumstances, but with the added rules and risks during covid, it was a lot harder. To me, this film doesn’t necessarily feel as if it was shot during the pandemic. Sure, there is a small cast but plenty of films before covid had small casts simply because it’s easier and cheaper to shoot.

The cinematography in the film is top notch and they really worked well within the shooting locations.There is a great variety of shots and camera movements that make a film nerd like me happy.

Seriously, this film is really worth your time to watch. Amazing visuals, tense storyline and excellent acting. I can’t think of another film that I have seen recently that I have enjoyed half as much as this film. Truly a gem of indie cinema. This is the kind of film you get when you just let a group of creative people create something. Be sure to stream it ASAP!

Review by Mikayla Daniels

Mikayla Daniels is a writer and host on KSPS Saturday Night Cinema, a screenwriter, actor and filmmaker as well as a horror genre academic. You can follow her @Palealaskan on Twitter and Instagram.

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