By Chris Hammond
Directed by Rouzbeh Heydari (Together Again)
Writer/Actor Dana Abraham (Prisoner of Fear) wrote the film and stars in the movie.
Starring Brenna Coates (“Coroner”), Brit MacRae (“The Eden Theory”), Stephen Tracey (“Good Sam”), Rene Escobar, Jr. (“Air Crash Investigation”), Erika Swayze (“Workin’ Moms”), Lauren Howe (“Reacher”) and Kim Coates (“Sons of Anarchy“).
Neon Lights is a film which spotlights stress, and trauma and how they can overtake one’s life without warning. This plays out through the eyes of Clay Amani (Dana Abraham). A thirty-two-year-old, revolutionary tech-tycoon, on the verge of a hostile takeover. When a television interview about his company (Tempest) goes askew. Clay goes off the grid and vanishes to an estate away from prying eyes. In an attempt to find solace and heal himself from the traumas that he suffered as a child. His estranged and adopted siblings join him on this healing retreat. The reunion starts out great but not long after, several family members start to go missing under strange circumstances.
With Neon Lights, it’s evident that Dana Abraham immerses himself in the character and scripts he creates. His portrayal of Clay Amani ropes in the viewers with an unsettled demeanour. The pain and anxiety flood throughout every scene when Abraham graces the screen. This great performance only complements the rest of the story and players in the film.
Kim Coates plays Denver a character who is always around Clay, always trying to fix things or help him out. Although, he does this in a not-so-helpful way. Coates plays this menacing figure with ease. His actions throughout the film act as both angel and devil on Clay’s shoulder.
There are scenes throughout the film where Clay is in an office with his therapist Laila (Breanna Coates). These help to show that although Clay is seeking help and is trying to rid himself of his demons.
Clay’s “siblings” are dysfunctional. There’s the drug and booze-drinking James (Stephen Tracey). Although immature he encourages his brother and lets him know “he’s done real good”. There’s Blair (Erika Swayze). She is actually Clay’s niece. She is most like him (without the trauma). She likes technology and reading books. Benny Amani (Rene Escobar, Jr.) The father of Blair. He doesn’t know how to connect with his child, and can sometimes be untrustworthy of Clay. Then there’s Clarissa (Brit MacRae). She seems to be the most level-headed out of the bunch and although married to Benny, Clay has feelings for her.
The aspect of the Neon Lights in the film is a very interesting premise. Different Neon lights appear in scenes when Clay is interacting with certain houseguests one on one. Delving deeper into this concept and I found out that Different colours of Neon Lights can boost different moods in people. For instance, blue neon can elicit moods of tranquillity, stability, and trust. Each Neon light in the film associates certain neon lights with specific characters.
There are scenes of horror, but Neon Lights is more of a psychological thriller. The charm is in trying to figure out the puzzle of what is going on. Why are people going missing and what does Denver have to do with everything.
The acting throughout is commendable as each character comes into their own. Although some concepts in the film aren’t new, this is a refreshing take on this particular genre of film.
Momentum Pictures will release NEON LIGHTS On Demand and Digital on July 12, 2022.