<Review by: Sailesh Ghelani>

Directed by Edgar Wright. Starring Anya Taylor-Joy, Thomasin McKenzie, Matt Smith, Terence Stamp, Diana Rigg, Michael Ajao, Rita Tushingham

People watching the trailer of Last Night in Soho figure it’s a horror film but I’d like to disagree. It’s more of a scary psychological thriller. 

Edgar Wright tells his story of murder and suspense with a horror film style. And even though there is a ‘haunted house’ in the film, it’s more the haunted mind that drives the narrative and interest in the film’s characters.

Eloise (Thomasin McKenzie) is a shy, young country girl with dreams of being a fashion designer. She occasionally sees visions of her dead mother, but soon is off to London College of Arts and her visions take her to a glamorous world of 1960s London and the life of an upcoming performer called Sandy (Anya Taylor-Joy) who wants to make it big in the fancy Soho clubs. Fame, for her, comes at a cost. Ellie, as her friends call her, is thrust into this magical and dark world every night in the room she rents out. You’re not quite sure whether it’s just dreams at first but then you realise it’s a lot more real and sinister. Behind the glitz of showbiz is the grime of seedy Soho.

Anya Taylor-Joy and Thomasin McKenzie in Last Night in Soho

Even though ghosts appear on and off throughout, Last Night in Soho is a look into the psyche of this young girl who turns out to be a lot stronger than her city-dwelling counterparts who make fun of her at school for her innocent ways. It’s a study of how she metamorphoses into a dragon fly and not a butterfly.

Even though Anya Taylor-Joy steals the show with her screen presence, the meek Thomasin McKenzie is the subtle powerhouse that elbows her way through the thick shadows of her own mind in an effort to seek justice for Sandy and perhaps find herself in the bargain.

Anya Taylor-Joy and Matt Smith in Last Night in Soho

There are some who say that the film portrays women, entertainers or sex workers as helpless at the mercy of media bosses or the powers that be, but I think it’s quite the opposite with strong female characters who lose their way at points but decide to fight back and expose the truth.

Last Night in Soho is an interesting treatment to a familiar story that rises above most other typically scary films to be a psychological thriller with supernatural undertones.


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