REVIEW: Last Night in Soho


Well, if there was ever any doubt that Edgar Wright could maintain his creative reputation after “Baby Driver”, you can put all those worries to bed by seeing this movie.

The wonderfully talented Wright returns to the scene to yet again dabble outside of his more notorious comedic genre with his latest psychological horror/thriller: “Last Night in Soho.”

Thomasin Mckenzie stars as Eloise Turner, a talented, young fashion designer who discovers she has the mysterious gift of traveling back in time to the 1960s. However, all is not as shiny and glamorous as it seems, as a sinister plot begins to unravel revolving around an aspiring singer from that era, Sandie (played by Anya Taylor-Joy).

One thing (out of many) that results from this plot is Mckenzie’s most riveting performance to date. Her character could have totally fallen victim to the common shy and helpless teenager persona in a horror film trope. Instead, she manages to make her performance a memorable one.

With her charmingly down-to-Earth, bashful personality, and her realistic trauma she brings to the table, I found myself rooting for her every step of the way (and for me, saying that about a horror character is quite rare). Anya Taylor-Joy also relentlessly owns the scene each time she appears. She brings forth a sharp and downright powerfully inspiring performance that I predict will leave some people speechless. Recently I read a review from a user on IMDb that said the casting here was a huge misstep, and to that I say; “I don’t think you and I watched the same movie.”

The soundtrack is also electrically thrilling here. For the most part, psychological thrillers seem to heavily favor a slow burning story, with spooky atmospheres and somber music scores that eventually lead up to a terrifying denouement.

With this film, Wright accomplishes possibly the most unimaginable achievement I’ve seen in the horror genre so far: crafting a psychological horror that was enthrallingly fast-paced and fun due to the stylish 60s bubblegum soundtrack. When the film shifted its focus back to the 60s, I often found myself entranced by the exciting juxtaposition of a frightfully tense scene coupled with light, catchy, hummable tunes that worked their magic in ways I could never have imagined.

The beginning of the film is a little slow, but it keeps our interest piqued due in part to the terrific soundtrack. Music-wise, Wright once again doesn’t disappoint.

Truth be told, (ok, so it’s actually my opinion), despite the mesmerizing work from the cast and the exciting soundtrack, the real star of the show is the editing. Make no mistake, narratively this film is a bit flawed, but technically speaking it is flawless. The crisp editing is some of the best I’ve seen all year and deserves a place in the academy awards this award season. But knowing the academy, they will most likely turn a blind eye as they do with everything relating to horror movies (justice for Toni Collette in “Hereditary!”).

There are so many instances where Wright and his editing team wowed me with their incredible transition flexes. For instance, there’s a scene involving Taylor-Joy trying to impress Matt Smith’s character by showing off her dance moves. The scene then turns into what appears to be a one-take sequence of transitions back and forth from her character to Mckenzie’s without any cuts, after which I silently whispered a breathless “wow.”

The way Wright utilizes mirrors is also astounding, featuring Sandie (Taylor-Joy) as the center of attention, but picturing Eloise as her reflection as a way of highlighting that she is living past events along with Sandie.

Like I said, the beginning is a little slow, but I can understand it from a character buildup perspective. However, the one thing in this film that is entirely muddled is the bullying arc. The film continually puts Eloise in the position of being bullied by her ex-housemates, eluding to the notion that something’s about to go down with these “Mean Girls” characters, but it doesn’t.

There is no proper payoff here, and it falls flat as a potentially intriguing subplot. This unnecessary arc is made worse by another unresolved conflict. Eloise is plagued by hallucinogenic-like sequences, one which actually causes her to do something horrible. So horrible, in fact, that it baffles me how it was left open-ended. That doesn’t sit well with me.

Overall, the bullying arc did not need to happen and if they would’ve done something entirely different with it, it would have made the film so much better.

That one negative might be a little off-putting for some, but I urge you to not let it stop you from seeing this movie. The acting, editing, and stylish visuals and soundtrack all come together to make this the most fun I’ve had in the theaters in quite some time. “Last Night in Soho” is now playing exclusively in theaters – make time to go see this one. If you’re a fan of horror and/or looking for a horror flick that screams CREATIVE!, this is your movie.

Unfortunately, many readers will have just missed the opportunity to see it during the most perfect time to watch a horror film – Halloween weekend! What a shame, but you know what they say, “There’s always next year…”


Jury declares: A-