This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
ruth’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
seeing the reviews makes me wonder whether I've even watched the same film as everyone else ???
Last Night in Soho is a slow-burn horror-thriller about (intergenerational) trauma, and grief, mental illness and sexual violence, feeling powerless and not heard because you are unable to speak to the people caring about you due to the immensity of the terror happening around you and inside of you. It features ghosts that are haunting our protagonist not to hurt her but to warn her of the danger to come (but who are still not the good guys, and that is made abundantly clear), an incredible twist and ambiguous "villain", not to mention the fantastic cast, soundtrack, and cinematography.
Ellie felt so vulnerable, and the film did a great job setting up her character in the first part of the film, showing her painful awkwardness, yet shying away from people who reach out to her due to her yearning and romanticisation for a time long gone, for her mother, and the wish to make her family proud. As the film picks up pace alongside Ellie's realisation of the reality of the era and the stranger's life she had idealised so much, the film transforms more and more into a classic horror film as Ellie's world spins out of control. You as the viewer think you know what's to come. But you don't, neither does Ellie.
This is a film about being unable to heal and looking in all the wrong places for some sort of salvation. Sandie killed her old self in order to survive and Ellie fled to an idealised version of the past so she wouldn't have to face an uncertain future. Only once this past literally burns down, can Ellie finally begin to heal, even though the ending suggests that she hasn't cut all ties with the past, with what happened. She is no longer repressing it, as she did anytime someone brought up her mother's suicide, but working with it, living with it, truly moving on. For Sandie, the house filled with the bodies of all the men using and abusing her burns down, and she returns to Ellie as Sandie, the version she had presumably "killed" in order to survive the repeated assault and rape. So is this absolution? Sandie does not haunt Ellie, maybe that is the point, in the end; no longer allowing what happened to you to haunt you. Ellie does not become like Sandie, and her journey has brought her closer to her loved ones, finally asking for help, something her mother or Sandie were not allowed, thus breaking the cycle.