Beloved British auteur Edgar Wright finally returns to the big screen following 2017’s Baby Driver with a bold and captivating slice of timely, original horror.
Young and aspiring fashion designer Eloise (Thomasin McKenzie) quickly finds herself falling down the rabbit hole in a deadly tale of glamour and obsession, as she moves to a seemingly supernatural apartment in Soho, London. In her dreams, Eloise is transported back to the swinging Sixties, sucked into the vibrantly stylish lens of Sandie (Anya Taylor-Joy) and her sweeping young romance with Jack (Matt Smith) – but as cracks begin to appear and violence erupts, Wright slowly unveils the dark, sleazy underbelly of Soho.
It’s fascinating to watch Eloise’s evolution, as Thomasin McKenzie truly cements herself as one to watch with an impressively transformative arc. As Eloise spends more and more time revisiting events in Sandie’s world – while adopting certain elements of Sandie’s style and character in her timeline – the lines between the two characters begin to blur.
Anya Taylor-Joy is effortlessly magnetic, alluring and confident as Sandie, performing a beautifully smokey rendition of ‘Downtown’ in a key scene. She shares an electrifying dynamic with a charming and mysterious Matt Smith, who’s unfolding performance certainly surprises. Dame Diana Rigg once again commands the screen in her final role, while Terence Stamp is clearly having a ball hamming it up as an enigmatic figure following Eloise.
Wright impressively immerses you back to the Sixties with a specific aesthetic appeal, combining a lavish production design with a kaleidoscope of vibrant neon colours, an excellent soulful soundtrack (featuring Petula Clark, Cilla Black, The Kinks, Dusty Springfield and many more) and a number of elegant costumes. The sweeping scene in which Jack dances with an interchanging Eloise and Sandie in a smoky club really is a sumptuous cinematic highlight, perfectly evoking the historical period.
The excellent performances, immersive production design and slow-burn narrative make for a thoroughly captivating and compelling opening, particularly when the line between dreams and reality begin to blur. Wright cleverly grounds the horror in real-life by effectively exploring timely and resonating themes such as misogyny, toxic masculinity and mental health. However, the chilling psychological elements and important central themes bizarrely evolve into a campy slasher that heavily homages giallo horror, making for a disjointed third act.
Despite the somewhat disappointing final act, One Night In Soho is an effortlessly stylish and atmospheric trip through London, propelled by Taylor-Joy and McKenzie’s captivating performances.
Last Night In Soho was seen and reviewed at the London Film Festival. It will be in cinemas on 29 October.