The past refuses to die in the spookily cryptic first trailer for Edgar Wright's Last Night in Soho. On the basis of the teaser, the filmmaker behind Shaun of the Dead and Baby Driver delivers a loving homage to classic horror filmmakers including Dario Argento and Roman Polanski, splintering notions of reality and fantasy.
Here's the initial poster, which teases a psychological and temporal connection between the characters played by Thomasin Mackenzie (Jojo Rabbit) and Anya Taylor-Joy (The Queen's Gambit).
The trailer is driven more through suggestion than outright explanation, set to a creepy rendition of Petula Clark's 'Downtown'. But it becomes apparent that McKenzie's character Eloise has arrived in the British capital to take up a graphic design job. Based on her body language, she's lonely and struggles to fit in, but by night, she is able to step back in time to London's swinging 1960s heyday. This is initially signalled by the gloriously retro poster for 1965 James Bond movie Thunderball, adorned with plenty of gaudy neon. (We wouldn't be surprised if Tom Hardy's Reggie and Ronnie Kray were thrown in as Easter Eggs in the background.)
But there's a dark side to this escapist fantasy – assuming, of course, that it is escapist, and not real. Eloise begins to enjoy a double life as glamorous cabaret singer Sandy (Taylor-Joy) who is having a fling with a decidedly shifty-looking Matt Smith. Before long, the events of the sixties begin to spill over into the world of the noughties, with the suggestion of murder and supernatural activity through in for good measure.
The recreation of 1960s London looks lusciously seedy, and the elaborate visual pastiches are what we've come to expect from Edgar Wright; he's always channelled his passion for genre cinema into his movies, from zombies in Shaun of the Dead to sci-fi in The World's End, although this is the first outright chiller that he's made. (We're loving that reflection in the blade of the knife, one of the most explicit callbacks to the likes of Dario Argento.) The presence of 1960s British cultural icons Terence Stamp and Diana Rigg (in her final film role) also reinforces that delicious sense of retro nostalgia.
Last Night in Soho is released theatrically on the 29th of October 2021. Planning to give it a watch? Let us know @Cineworld.