That line from Paul Thomas Anderson's Magnolia might as well be stitched into the seams of Anya Taylor-Joy's jazzy pink mini frock in Edgar Wright's terrific new time-hopping horror flick Last Night in Soho, out this week, so succinct is it at getting to the point. Anderson was concerned with the way past traumas bubble in in the present place, frothing up and over until they become nonsense storms of amphibians spilling out of the sky, and Wright's doing the same, only instead of frogs it's muddle-faced walls of rape-ghosts careening down every ye olde alley in London-town -- same gist, different gist-er.
Is there even room for Ghost Stories in Modern Living anymore? Is there space, I mean, and time enough -- we move awfully fast and if there's one thing ghosts shouldn't it's exactly that. An art-filmmaker like Apichatpong Weerasethakul can take his time, time, time, time, and make us go cross-eyed until we think we're seeing specters with a slab of blessed Slow Cinema like Memoria, but mainstream movies don't have that luxury. And so proper Ghost Stories seem, to my eye, a little sidelined by popular culture these days -- ones that get it pretty right, like say Crimson Peak or The Turning, seem to get elbowed out of the conversation; shrugged at, at first. They take time to insinuate themselves, stick their spider-legs under our skins and cling snug to bone senses -- and by the time they're in there most people are onto the tenth next thing, never noticing.
Last Night in Soho, like the other mainstream ghost stories I just named, is admittedly too busy for its own good -- echoing the here and now there's no time for breathing, and Wright throws too much at us, just like Guillermo did as well. Costumes and sets, leagues of ghosties and double-crosses galore. But buried beneath the mountains of style and beautiful people both this and Crimson Peak, which I think would make for the perfect double-bill, are pretty straightforward stories down in their punctured spilling sad broken hearts. The past raining down on us, splitting open the skies with waves of what refuses to be forgotten, an echo of a heart beating through the walls that demands it be heard, be understood, in the present. In times where we seem incapable of standing still and listening it seems to take a barrage, an assault on the senses, and I do believe that Last Night in Soho, imperfect unwieldy, still set mine long-term to tingle. We've got a new ghost in the rafters, guys, and it looks great in sheets.