If M. Night Shyamalan decided to tinker with “Promising Young Woman,” the result could very well produce something similar to “Last Night in Soho,” director Edgar Wright‘s mess of a movie. You have to appreciate the sheer ambitiousness of this time-traveling, retro horror project, but watching this highly stylized film is an arduous undertaking.
London, 1960s. Small town girl Eloise (Thomasin McKenzie) is an aspiring fashion designer who goes off to college in the big city. Struggling with the other students in class, she decides to move out of the dorms and into a room for rent in a kindly elderly woman’s flat. Eloise’s first night in her new place brings on a disturbingly realistic nightmare about a wannabe singer named Sandie (Anya Taylor-Joy). When sleep finds her late in the evening, Eloise continues to enter the dream world every night. She becomes one with Sandie, and the glamorous surface story of the beautiful and talented entertainer gives way to horrific truths that expose a dark reality.
The film is visually stunning from start to finish. The production design is exemplary. Chung-hoon Chung‘s cinematography is polished, ideal for creating a world of nostalgia. The performances are solid enough, considering the cast doesn’t have much to do thanks to the repetitive, contrived script (co-written by Wright and Krysty Wilson-Cairns). The premise is mildly interesting but the reveal is laughable and frustrating, a letdown that’s a reminder of what this psychological thriller could have been.
It feels like Wright was trying to make a feminist political statement about the abuse of women during the era, and certain elements of the story suggest that he wanted to push boundaries with the film. Some of the scenes backfire, at least for me, where they create the impression of being more exploitative than empowering. For that reason, “Last Night in Soho” left a really bad taste in my mouth.