Last Night in Soho is arguably Edgar Wright’s most ambitious film to date. Drawing on numerous influences, he creates a thoroughly unique and unsettling experience. The film follows young hopeful Eloise “Ellie” Turner (Thomasin McKenzie) who, against her grandmother’s advice, moves to London to study fashion, leaving behind a bedroom filled with classic records and film posters from the Sixties.
After finding new accommodation, Ellie falls asleep only to wake as a different woman in a different era. In a meticulously directed scene, Eloise looks in the mirror and sees the beautiful, colourful reflection of Sandie (Anya Taylor-Joy), a confident blonde who wants to be a part of the 1960’s club scene. Perfect mirrors of each, Ellie becomes a spectator watching Sandie in awe. At other times though, she seems to be in control of Sandie. The dreams also begin to impact Eloise’s current life, prompting a makeover of sorts.
It soon becomes clear that all these events are linked to Ellie’s unhealthy obsession with a past she never lived. Through his surreal approach, Wright’s film highlights why ‘the good ol’ days’ are romanticised figments of our imagination. He uses this fact, and his own experiences, to explore the darker sides of 60’s Soho in a way that never loses sight of its emotional core.
Taking cues from Baby Driver, Wright effortlessly synchronises sound effects and music with what’s on screen. The 60’s scenes all use a psychedelic, technicolour-style palette and are a direct contrast to the dull depiction of current-day London. As Eloise’s visions of the 60’s begins to invade her current-day life, the colours follow in an aggressive manner. Nightmarish sequences amplify in intensity as the lines between past and present, reality and fantasy fade.
Last Night in Soho sits alongside Get Out (2016, Jordan Peele) and Hereditary (2018, Ari Aster) as a horror film that pushes the genre in bold new directions. Avoiding clichés, Wright blends elements of Italian giallo with Kafka-style dream logic to create a stylish and emotionally engaging film.