The Stream: An interesting premise loses steam as it goes along
The Big Screen: Great world building and interesting effects
The Final Bill: While there are some thrills, it doesn’t deliver on its creepy promise.– Trip Fontaine
Director: Edgar Wright
Writers: Edgar Wright (story by); Edgar Wright & Krysty Wilson-Cairns (screenplay by)
Stars: Thomasin McKenzie, Anya Taylor-Joy, Diana Rigg and Matt Smith
Genre: Drama, Horror, Thriller
Rating: Rated R for bloody violence, sexual content, language, brief drug material and brief graphic nudity
Runtime: 1 hour 56 minutes
Production Companies: Complete Fiction, Film4, Focus Features International, Perfect World Pictures, Working Title Films
Platform: In Theaters October 29, 2021
Trailers: Spencer, Moonfall, Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City, Scream (2022), The Black Phone, The 355, Belfast
Happy Halloween, Streamers! Unlike S2S, I am not a scary movie person, but I do like a good psychological thriller. If there are some horror elements in the movie as well, then I’ll roll with the punches. This weekend Edgar Wright’s latest film, Last Night in Soho, promised to offer a good mix of psychological thriller and some horror. Let’s see how spooky this one gets.
Edgar Wright has an eclectic filmography from those Simon Pegg genre comedies like Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz and The World’s End to Baby Driver and Scott Pilgrim vs. The World – films brimming with a lot of style and some humor. Last Night in Soho seemed to be a departure for Wright where he’s replaced the humor with horror but the style is still front and center. Last Night in Soho is a high concept flick about a young fashion student, Eloise (Thomasin McKenzie), who moves from her secluded life in the countryside to bustling London for school. Eloise idolizes London in the 1960s – everything from the music to the fashion, but school isn’t all it’s cracked up to be as she struggles to fit in. Eloise has some secrets from her past that haunt her as well. Eventually, after moving into a room in a boarding house run by Mrs. Collins (Diana Rigg), Eloise begins to dream of a dazzling, cosmopolitan woman from the 1960s, Sandie (Anya Taylor-Joy) and gets enthralled by her, until the lines between the dream and reality begin to blur in unexpected and terrifying ways.
The concept is exactly what you want from a psychological thriller. There’s mystique and style especially in the sequences with Taylor-Joy and the mysterious Jack, played by Matt Smith. The music, production design and costumes draw the audience into that world. It all becomes very alluring and understandable how Eloise gets entranced by it all. Also, there is some really interesting editing within these dream sequences. Unfortunately, as the 1960s sequences bleed into present day, the “psychological” part of this thriller becomes silly and frustrating. It never really veers into the truly scary, which is disappointing if that’s what you’re expecting.
As a side note on the actors: This is not Thomasin McKenzie’s finest performance. She’s okay, I guess, but she’s doing the same doe-eyed thing she’s been doing in all the films I’ve seen her in. Anya Taylor-Joy, on the other hand, fits perfectly for the role of Sandie. She’s so good you will wish there was more of her story in this.
Last Night in Soho sets up a premise with a lot of potential. It delivers on some of it, but it eventually falls apart. The film never gets to be as scary, or thrilling, as it could be. In some sequences, it is quite silly, which might be the fault of the central performance from McKenzie. Nevertheless, it is entertaining throughout. Better yet the film is “not boring” and will keep you interested for its runtime, which is less than 2 hours. It would be best to see this at night, but I wouldn’t recommend the nighttime prices at the theater – maybe the latest matinee movie possible at 5 p.m., since daylight savings time is ending soon.