After more than a year of waiting beyond the film’s initial release date, Edgar Wright loyalists will be relieved to see a proper trailer for his latest film Last Night in Soho at long last. While what’s actually going on in the clip remains anyone’s best guess, which is how things are best left with a mysterious project such as this one, we’ve been assured that a phantasmagorical trip into terror awaits us.
The trailer begins with a present-day fashion student played by Thomasin McKenzie, spending her class sessions sketching a chic blonde in swinging ’60s London couture. Imagine her surprise when she awakens to find herself transported back to the precise place and time of her fantasies, free to traverse a period of greater glamour and grime for the seedy Soho neighborhood.
But matters get stranger as she discovers that her identity has begun to fracture, making her appear to those around her as the girl she once drew, played in the film by Anya Taylor-Joy. Her romance with a smooth operator (Matt Smith) seems like a good time, until the membrane between the two eras begins to disintegrate, along with the divide between the two linked young women.
Splashes of color hark back to the giallo nightmares of ’70s Italy and the arms bursting out of the floor and walls recall Repulsion, but the dominant reference here may be Ingmar Bergman’s Persona, another instance of one woman bleeding into another. (In this instance, that may be literal.) But the “persona-swap” film, a noble tradition stretching from Desperately Seeking Susan to Queen of Earth and beyond, has never hewn so closely to horror.
With cinemas rounding a corner on the COVID-19 shutdowns, the time is finally right for a movie of true movie-ness, with the grand sets (the Thunderball billboard recalls Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, across the pond) and immersive effect that the term implies. It just feels so much better to release a scream of fear in an auditorium, as part of one big petrified chorus.
Last Night in Soho comes to cinemas in the US on 22 October, and then the UK on 29 October.
Published 25 May 2021
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