Elijah is an Amazon best-selling author, blogger, previous columnist for an award-winning blog, past creative editor, socialite and traveler
Before jumping into the plot, I must say that I did not research this movie whatsoever. I went into the film without any understandings of the plot (aside from what I saw in the trailer). I find that not looking too much into a film makes the experience so much more riveting.
Jumping into the film, movie starts off with Ellie dancing in a gown she's created out of newspaper, and sees her mother staring back at her in the mirror, in which we shortly thereafter come to the understanding that she has psychic abilities. She receives a letter from a school of fashion in Soho and the contents are that of an acceptance. She says goodbye to her grandmother and takes a cab to the train station, London-bound. Before leaving, however, I must emphasize that her grandmother alerts her of the dangers of men, and how they can be. This is a VERY important warning to keep in mind as you delve deeper into the story.
Her first experience in London is negative... her cab driver is a total creep and sexualizes her telling her she has nice legs and a pretty face (um.. awkward).
During this time I was thinking, "wow, her grandmother was right about the wolves of London."
She shortly after, meets her roommate, Jocasta. She's a total bitch. Let's just be honest here. She is extremely condescending, attention seeking, and superficial. As is her squad of mean girls. After parties, bar-hopping, and Jocasta's vicious gossip in the bathroom, Ellie meets John, a sweet and endearing boy who instantly became my favorite character. All of the stress of rooming with a party girl seems to be too much, and Ellie finds a room for rent with a kitchenette in Soho. The landlady, Miss Collins seems to be rather uptight, yet likable at the same time.
Shortly after the room tour, Ellie packs all of her personal items and leaves the dorm to live in the cute little neighborhood of Soho, which was once a lively night scene in the swinging sixties- Ellie's favorite time period in British pop-culture. Her first night in Soho, however, activates her psychic abilities; she dreams of a young singer in the 60's, Sandie. Not only does she dream of her, she almost becomes her, often seeing herself in Sandie's reflections and dancing. These flashbacks of the past play before her like a window to the past. Although, to the audience the question I was asking was, "why?" Why was she dreaming about this young girl, and what prompted these visions of the past?
Every night she sleeps, Ellie becomes a spectator and watches Sandie's life and her attempt to be a rising star with the aid of her boyfriend, Jack. It's all very glamorous and definitely screams "1960's", but the more she watches Sandie's life the darker it becomes. It is a gradual darkness but it really sets in during the marionette scene. It is then that it becomes apparent; Jack doesn't really love her... he's just a pimp forcing her into situations she doesn't like. He takes advantage of her and her dreams. She goes behind stage where the façade of 60's glam is shattered; women doing heroin, giving sexual favors, unhappiness, and an overall dark tone. It is then that the audience realizes the theme and direction of the film: nothing is what it seems, and behind the glamor and allure of fame is a very dark scene. Sandie meets many different men, whom Jack pushes her to sleep with. She changes her name a few times, until she meets one man in particular, Lindsay, who she suspects is a cop. He tells her that she's too good for the prostitution scene and we then see Jack in the corner with another woman, further cementing the fact that he really doesn't care about Sandie whatsoever. Sandie covers up her unhappiness with booze, cigarettes and late nights dancing in night clubs (also to attract potential clients for her and Jack).
Ellie not only changed her appearance to look like Sandie and made her fashion project about her, but has now become bothered by these visions. They impact her on a daily basis, and she begins to see visions in the waking day. Her behavior becomes erratic and paranoid, and she suspects an old man of stalking her.
On Halloween, John and Ellie are unknowingly drugged by Jocasta at a rave and they then head back to Ellie's room to have sex. Ellie, knowing full-well that Miss Collins doesn't want male visitors, sneaks him up into her room where they begin to make-out in bed. This, however, goes horribly wrong. She sees the rest of Sandie's story in the glass mirrors above her bed; Sandie appears to be stabbed by her pimp, Jack, while laying in the same bed. During that time, the connection is finally made as to why Ellie even sees visions of Sandie; it is because the room she stayed in once belonged to Sandie and the ghosts of the past still reside there. Or so we speculate. Ellie freaks out and Miss Collins barges into the room, John is injured and flees, and Miss Collins shows her concern and care for Ellie but wishes to talk about the situation in the morning.
John still hasn't given up on Ellie, and the next day she is haunted by Sandie seemingly covered in blood from what appeared to be her untimely murder. Ellie goes to the police to report the murder, but it is jeered at and turned away by the male officer, while the female officer shows concern and worries that she is probably mentally ill.
Ellie goes to the library and asks to see files and newspapers about murders that have taken place in the 1960's in Soho. As she goes through the slides of newspapers she comes across dozens of disappearances of men, murders, assaults, etc., but finds nothing of a young woman by the name of Sandie. She is then haunted by the ghosts of all the men who hurt and raped Sandi while in the library and nearly stabs Jocasta believing her to be one of the men. Honestly, the bitch would've deserved it... Ellie leaves the library to run through the rain to chase after Sandie's ghost but ends up falling and slamming her head. She later goes to the bar for her shift and runs into the same old man who, by now, she is convinced is Jack, Sandie's pimp. She is confident that he is Sandie's killer and she records their conversation accusing him of doing the deed. He admits that he knew Sandie and that everyone knew her. He also said that "some bones don't want to be dug up", which sounds damning and like in admission of guilt. He walks away and no longer wants to deal with Ellie, and as he crosses the street he is struck and killed by a car.
PLOT TWISTS BELOW
Sandie- a young blonde aspiring singer who moves to Soho. She's confident, bold, and knows exactly what she wants. At the same time though, she's incredibly naive and assumes that Jack and other men have good intentions. She turns from bold boss bitch (excuse my language) to an abused victim who is later "murdered" by her pimp/boyfriend, Jack. She is the main protagonist, and later antagonist of the film.
Ellie- is an aspiring fashion designer who moves to Soho to pursue her dream, much like Sandie. It is no wonder that she is connected to her and has visions of her and lives vicariously through her. Ellie is mousy and insecure, but later, being inspired by Sandie, she becomes more brave and changes her style. She is gifted, not just artistically, but psychically as well.
John- a sweet and lovable character who is not only infatuated by Ellie, but he stands with her till the bitter end. Probably the only character to believe in Ellie besides her grandmother.
Lindsay- a ladies man with GOOD intentions! He gets to know all the working girls and tries his best to not only keep them safe, but to try and get them out of prostitution.. like he tried to with Sandie.
Miss Collins- the quiet yet stern land lady who seems like a sweet grandmother figure. Except, plot twist, she's actually Sandie!
Jocasta- an uber bitch. She's that high-school girl that bullied kids would kill themselves because of.. tell me I'm wrong. Also, saying "babes" after every mean thing (not to mention drugging people) does not make it nice. It would have been nice if Ellie actually put the pair of scissors into her head.
Plot Twists (Spoilers)
Ellie now realizing that "Jack" is dead, has no clarifications as to what exactly happened, until, it is realized that the old man she assumed to be Jack, was actually Officer Lindsay... the only one who believed in Sandie and her worth. This plot twist for me was shocking, but I was also upset that he wasn't Jack. Who else could it be then? Will we ever know the whole story of who killed her? Ellie phones her grandmother crying and says that she is coming home. Shortly after, Ellie runs into John who offers to drive her home as he is concerned about her well-being.
They stop at the building where she intends to get her stuff, explain to Miss Collins that she has to leave, and then be on her way. She tells John that if she isn't back in 15 minutes then he should go into find her. In this scene I was expecting her to not return in the 15 minute window because I was confident she'd see one last vision to have some resolution to Sandie's murder while packing her stuff in her room. Shockingly, this was not what happened...
Miss Collins invites her in for tea and Ellie explains why she must leave. Miss Collins admits that the female officer from the police station came to her for a wellness check and that everyone thinks she is unwell. And just when you think the story is going to come to a close with at least some resolution, we are soon treated to one last plot twist. Perhaps the most shocking plot twist I've seen in a long time.
Miss Collins tells her that now that she remembers it clearly, there was, in fact, a girl who died in Ellie's room. And that it was her who died. Well... a part of her. The naïve and foolish part of her died a hundred times in that room. And it is then revealed that Sandie, was not murdered. Miss Collins was Sandie the entire time.
I thought, "yay! Well now we know that Sandie was never killed and we all get a happy ending now." It seemed comforting knowing that sweet old Miss Collins had lived a long life and that Jack never got away with murder. But then...
Miss Collins reveals that she killed Jack in self defense, which explains her being covered in blood in Ellie's visions. It wasn't Sandie's blood, it was Jack's blood. She stabbed him a hundred times. And honestly, he deserved it and was going to kill her anyways.
But THEN! When you think the plot twist is revealed and there will be a happy ending, think again... Miss Collins/Sandie then reveals that she not only killed Jack, but every single man who had abused her. She confesses to hiding their bodies in the floor boards and in the walls, and it was in that moment that I remembered something from the beginning of the film.
During the room tour, Miss Collins told Ellie that in the summer she'd have to plug up the drains because, "the smell rises." She wasn't talking about the smell of mold, or the smell of dirty old pipes, she was talking about the smell of her victim's remains... Essentially, Sandie became a black widow, luring her abusers to their deaths.
Ellie apologizes for what happened to her with sincerity because she knows how she must've felt. She promises to never tell anyone, and just when you think it's all over, it isn't! Sandie tells her that she knows she won't tell anyone and it is then that the audiences realize she has poisoned Ellie's tea! Also, if you pay attention to the events before Sandie's confessions, you'll realize that there are Easter eggs in the apartment; various objects from Ellie's visions.
John comes to the rescue but is stabbed by Sandie. The apartment starts to catch fire because of a cigarette that fell into the record box and a "chase" ensues. Either in Ellie's state of hallucinations due to poisoning, or a series of flash backs, Ellie sees Miss Collins and Sandie while she is chased up the stairs (which become theater stairs). The flames begin to rise as the song, "You're My World", by Cilla Black plays.
When Ellie gets back to her/Sandie's room, the ghosts of Jack and all Sandie's other victims come back from the dead, begging her to kill her. But Ellie doesn't because she knows that they were the real villains, and Sandie was just a tortured soul who snapped (I share this sentiment too, and I believe they got what they deserved). Sandie breaks into the room and is confronted by the ghosts of her past. She tells Ellie that she, "never wanted any of this", perhaps referring to her dreams of being a star, prostitution, and all the men who had hurt her, including her pimp boyfriend. She then attempts to slit her own throat because she doesn't want to go to prison. Ellie screams, and Sandie tells her to save the boy, before she hugs her and Sandie says, "you can't save me!" This scene was so emotional for me because it was a statement saying that not everyone gets a happy ending, and sometimes, the victim never gets true justice. John and Ellie survive, but Sandie dies in the fire... a sad, but theatrical ending to her dramatic and theatrical life.
The film ends with Ellie's fashion show and at the end of it, she goes to the mirror to see the glimpse of her mother's spirit. After she looks away and looks back, Ellie sees the spirit of Sandie looking back at her proud of what she's done. Perhaps, Sandie is living vicariously through Ellie's success because she never got the success she dreamt of. They then touch their fingers on the surface of the mirror and the film ends.
The actors were phenomenal! I feel like all of the actors and actresses in this film are grossly underrated and deserve so much more notoriety.
Holy shit! The music made the film! The swinging 60's songs actually made you feel as if you were being transported back in time every time there was a flashback that Ellie saw.
Honestly, I have no complaints when it comes to this film. It was well done in every aspect and, although upsetting, I do not regret watching this film.
Was Sandie justified?
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
© 2021 Elijah DeVivo