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Hall reviews Last Night in Soho

This week on "Justin Hall At The Movies," I'll be reviewing a murder mystery back in time in "Last Night In Soho."

Last Night In Soho marks writer/director Edgar Wright returning to the horror genre that he put a cool, subversive spin on after Shaun of the Dead. Fans of Wright's will appreciate his sensibilities at the forefront and he crafts a screenplay that mostly lives up to its clever premise.

Thomasin McKenzie stars as Ellie, a fashion student in London who has ambitions of being a designer. She lives with her grandmother until she gets accepted to the London College of Fashion and once there, she quickly moves out of the party zones that has become her dorm room and wants to find new boarding.

She finds an apartment room run by an elderly lady (Diana Rigg) who takes her in, but it isn't long before Ellie is haunted by disturbing dreams of the London in the Swinging '60s especially by a vivacious doppelganger (Anya Taylor-Joy).

Sandie's presence in Ellie's dreams might be providing clues to a murder that occurred years ago and Ellie is perplexed as to what it could all mean. So are we and that's one of the strengths and weaknesses of Edgar's script.

Not only does Sandie affect Ellie in her dreams, but also in reality. She makes it difficult for Ellie to concentrate on her fashion and she's considered mentally unstable by her friends, the cops and even her new boyfriend (Michael Ajao).

The dream sequences Wright concocts are a pure delight for any '60s purist as he recreates the fashions, trends and dance moves of that era and then punctuates it with equal dose of blood that would look right at home in Hammer horror or Dario Argento. No doubt those films provide influence.

Last Night In Soho does stumble during the finale and it does give us the proverbial twist ending that proves to be simultaneously infuriating and revelatory.

The movie is about 116 minutes long. Out of those 116, I'd say the first 55 or so are ingenious, the next 25 to 30 are decent and the climax made me lose a bit of admiration.

Nevertheless, thanks to its style, atmosphere, cinematography and performances, Last Night In Soho does achieve what Wright sets out to do, just not in spades.

Grade: B - (Rated R for bloody violence, sexual content, language, brief drug material and brief graphic nudity.)

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