Last Night In Soho... When the ending betrays what the movie wants to say.

Usually, a mediocre or a bad one might get saved by the 3rd act but does that warrant a good movie-going experience? Or else does it work vice-versa?

Last Night In Soho... When the ending betrays what the movie wants to say.
In Pic: Anya Taylor-Joy, Matt Smith rollicking around the 60's London in Edgar Wright's horror flick "Last Night In Soho". Pic Courtesy: Focus Features

To say that sometimes an ending could make or break whatever the movie has to offer, it is up to the audience to decide whether the movie has impacted you if the ending makes sense in the grander scheme of things. Usually, a mediocre or a bad one might get saved by the 3rd act but does that warrant a good movie-going experience? Or else does it work vice-versa? Seeing from this headline you could tell this question has been pondering me after I've seen the Edgar Wright-directed horror flick, Last Night In Soho. Mind you, Shaun of The Dead, The World's End, or even that trailer from Grindhouse assures you Wright's always been a horror aficionado but this time he's not very jolly or tongue in cheek about the matter in context here. While it's laudable what Wright and co-writer Kristy Wilson-Cairns want to convey about the mental state of Eloise (Thomasin Mckenzie) when creeps in London cat-call her or even worse "ghosts" haunt her, the way it gets undermined by the end makes you feel gutted by the fact it goes against what the movie says.  

...for the most part, has the makings of a great horror movie...

It's a shame because before the 3rd act, Last Night In Soho for the most part, has the makings of a great horror movie. For instance, where do we have a horror movie where it has one of the grooviest soundtracks of the Swinging 60's set in London? The neon lights, at first seemed to seduce not only Eloise but even the viewers and makes us feel like Eloise watching from a distance yet feels like you're in the world of Sandie (portrayed by Anya Taylor-Joy), an aspiring singer who's confident about her talents which as she believes could take over the world. But as a smoothly played Matt Smith's nightclub manager character Jack says "You gotta start somewhere to get big" in order to give her a heads up of the horror he might inflict on her later on, you realize that Wright masterfully sets up a darkly psychological scenario about the past not being as glamourous as it used to be. This psychological torment is aided by the terrifying visions witnessed by Eloise, giving us a space in her head that maybe Sandie who initially becomes enamored with isn't the confident brash woman that she aspires to be.

Wright's influences here stems from the Giallo horror flicks (Suspiria comes to mind) but in this year he's not the first to show the visual influences of the genre; James Wan directed Malignant also has strong Giallo influences but unlike Last Night in Soho, the former is interested in the gorier aspect of the genre. The editing, production design, and cinematography (done here by Chung-Hoon Chung) seamlessly blend surreally which almost feels like being on an acid trip.

Anya Taylor-Joy as Sandie and Thomasin McKenzie as Eloise in Last Night in Soho.Courtesy of Focus Features

...the surreal imagery by then begins to numb your senses to a point you feel almost dizzy by the end of it...

I don't want to spoil the ending here, but I do want to try my best to explain why it didn't work for me. The thing about depicting victims here is kinda tone-deaf, to begin with. Sure, the resolution seems justifiable as to why but to use it as your main twist comes off as wrong. Also, the surreal imagery by then begins to numb your senses to a point you feel almost dizzy by the end of it. It also doesn't help that it establishes that one character has a sort of premonition to see ghosts in the mirrors but all of a sudden, another character faces the wrath of a vengeful ghost and this makes me ask, does that person also have the same powers as Eloise? It makes the killer here look less like a victim but more like a sadistic person while the killer tries to attack our leads, which felt icky. But then again, it left me wondering, whatever all the good stuff happened in those 2 acts, should we discard because of a misguided 3rd act? Time will tell if I might forgive the movie's misgivings, but for now, I'd still appreciate Wright's love for horror movies...