Last Night in Soho Review: A Gripping, but Puzzling, Dream

When it comes to filmmaking, none may be as stylish as Edgar Wright. The British filmmaker had made quite a name for himself from molding the clever antics of the Cornetto Trilogy, or crafting the stylish scope he created in Baby Driver. Wright has left an impression over the last the decade and is among one of my favorite directors working today. So, what happens when the director jumps into the realm for horror? The answer is the new mind-bending horror film called Last Night in Soho.

The film centers on Elle (Thomasin McKenzie) an aspiring fashion designer who moves to London to get her start. Once arriving, Elle begins to see visions of an aspiring singer named Sandy (Anya Taylor-Joy) and how her life takes a dark path; and these visions begin to haunt Elle to the brink of insanity. Along with being named after the 1968 song, the new movie is inspired by past films such as Don’t Look Now and Repulsion. The film was originally slated to hit theaters last September only to be delayed but ultimately made its way to the big screen just in time for Halloween. Between Wright’s involvement and the captivating trailers, Last Night in Soho looked promising and was among my most anticipated films for the fall. So, on a calm but cool evening, I ventured to see the new horror film and while it could be head scratching there was no denying that Last Night in Soho was a psychedelic experience.

Last Night in Soho was filled with thrills and mystery. The plot was gripping as the mystery surrounding Sandy and how it effects Elle was compelling and kept me guessing from beginning to end. Yet this mindscape was not without its headaches. While the plot itself was interesting it needed a little more clarification with some of its aspects. Elements such as Elle’s ability to see the past was hardly explained and seemed to be only there for the sake of moving the plot along. This issue was also evident in the story’s morals and themes which, while good, did not mesh well the movie’s main concept. All of this culminated in a conclusion that, while questionable, was as much shocking as it was appreciated, and it really captured the tense atmosphere behind this haunting tale.

Along with the gripping story the movie also featured a captivating cast. Elle had some flaws in her development, but she was a solid protagonist and McKenzie’s performance brought the right energy to this haunted character. Along with Elle was the specter Sandy whose mystique was only matched by her keen enthusiasm; and this was thanks to Anya’s performance who was solid as ever. In the case of supporting characters, the cast was hit and miss. Some characters were forgettable while others left in impression. This was evident in likes of Matt Smith as Jack who brought his sense of charisma to the character, as well as Terrance Stamp who brought a surprising energetic performance as the mysterious gentlemen. Rounding things out was Diana Rigg as Ms. Collins whose sense of wit was not only fitting for Rigg’s final performance but was appropriate for this eccentric cast.

When it came to the likes of horror and atmosphere, Last Night in Soho was as sound as film could get. Between the surreal imagery and cutting execution the film’s horror was impressive and brought something that is practically uncommon in the genre today. The movie also had a sense of humor to it and the comedy was used efficiently and did not take away from the film’s frightening atmosphere. Helping the horror was the film’s cinematography which was dynamic and live up to the style seen in Wright’s films. Equally as stylish was the movie’s use of music. The score by Steven Price had an eerie feel to it while the soundtrack was used in a unique fashion and, surprisingly, worked for the movie’s horrific tone.

In many ways, Last Night in Soho is dynamic horror film. Although aspects like storytelling get lost in translation, the film is able to make up for its gripping atmosphere and stylish direction. Through its twists and turns, Last Night in Soho manages to live to the Edgar Wright’s pedigree and gives the Halloween season a thrilling experience that won’t be easy to forget.

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