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TIFF Review: ‘Last Night in Soho’ is Giallo Horror with a #MeToo Twist

October 26, 2021Ben MK

How far would you go to fulfill your ambitions? For Eloise Turner (Thomasin McKenzie), moving out of her grandmother's house in Cornwall to attend fashion school in London seemed like a dream come true. However, when she starts having nightmares about the murder of an aspiring singer named Sandie (Anya Taylor-Joy), Eloise quickly begins to regret ever coming to the big city, as she struggles to free herself from the vise-like grip of a haunted past that has made its way into the present day.

Ever since losing her mom at the age of seven, Eloise has seen apparitions. So when she moves into a '60s-era Soho flat above the kindly old Ms. Collins (Diana Rigg), Eloise isn't too surprised when she starts having dreams about the young woman that once lived there. At first, Eloise's nighttime visions seem harmless enough, even inspiring her to dye her own hair blonde like Sandie's and to use Sandie's retro look as the inspiration for her class project. But when those dreams take a turn for the violent, it sets Eloise on a collision course with the past. Believing that she witnessed Sandie's brutal death at the hands of a sleazy nightclub manager named Jack (Matt Smith), Eloise takes it upon herself to find and bring Jack to justice. What she doesn't realize, though, is that Sandie's tale isn't all that is appears to be. And by the time she comes to understand the whole truth, it may already be too late.

What follows is two-thirds murder mystery, one-third slasher thriller, as director Edgar Wright leads audiences on a tour through 1960s London, bolstered by some of the most crowd-pleasing needle drops of his career. As much as it's concerned with embracing the past, however, Last Night in Soho is also something of an allegory for the modern-day #MeToo movement. And while it's a far cry from the humor of Wright's first big screen hit, Shaun of the Dead, the result is proof positive of his mastery as a storyteller, irrespective of genre.

Last Night in Soho screened under the Gala Presentations programme at the 2021 Toronto International Film Festival and is in theaters October 29th. Its runtime is 1 hr. 56 min.

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