A murder in the past. A mystery in the future.
Last Night in Soho is a 2021 supernatural psychological horror film directed by Edgar Wright, written by Edgar Wright and Krysty Wilson-Cairns, produced by Film4 Productions, Perfect World Pictures, Working Title Films, and Complete Fiction Pictures, and distributed by Focus Features. It stars Thomasin McKenzie and Anya Taylor-Joy. It was not nominated for any Academy Awards.
"You think you can just walk away?" -Jack
Aspiring fashion designer Eloise Turner has a gift that allows her to see ghosts from the past. When she moves to London to pursue her dreams, she is able to revisit London in the 60s and get a glimpse into the life of nightclub singer Sandie. As the dreams continue, Eloise realizes something horrible is going to happen and tries to escape before the visions tear her apart.
Edgar Wright's Direction / Twist Ending / Depiction of 60s / Dialogue / Uniqueness / Spiraling Out of Control / Not Fun Horror / Repetition / Underdeveloped Side Characters / Major Plot Holes / Structure
Last Night in Soho is an incredibly strange and complicated movie that I have a lot of thoughts on. But it does have a few really, really cool elements.
The first thing that I loved about this film was the direction. Edgar Wright, director of Shaun of the Dead and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World tackles his first horror movie with an incredibly unique taste. He uses mirrors and lighting to perfection. Wright uses color and scenery in the most beautiful way possible. A lot of the really creepy shots are lit with this neon red that makes you very uncomfortable and adds a layer of scariness to the scene, which I really appreciated. Wright's movies always stand out because they are creative and have great direction, and Last Night in Soho is no exception.
The film also has a nice twist ending. Is it one of the most surprising twists ever? No. Is it one of the greatest twists ever? No. But it's a cool little reveal that makes sense in light of everything set up before it. The script has little lines of dialogue that take on a whole new light once you have seen the entire movie and know how it ends. It's a cool way to structure the script.
This goes along with the direction, but the 60s vibe is great. From the vibrant costumes and hairstyles to the sets to the colors to the soundtrack, this film really feels like it's set in the 60s in London. It captures the era so well. The main character likes listening to music from that time, and that really immerses you in the 60s. I really liked that aspect of the movie. It just added to the unique nature of the film.
I also thought that the dialogue in this movie was very crisp. It had a quick, snappy style to it. There were some lines that would put a grin on my face because they were witty. There were some jokes that were nicely set up. The screenwriters did a great job with this script, and I hope we can see more of this collab between Edgar Wright and Krysty Wilson-Cairns.
There are tons of movies nowadays. The box office is dominated by big, blockbuster franchises. And we don't get a ton of unique films. That isn't to say that films these days are bad, but most of them aren't really filled with original ideas. Last Night in Soho is an entirely new experience. It is different than any movie I have ever seen. This is going to sound so weird, but it's almost like a combination of The Shining, Get Out (for women), Schindler's List, Mean Girls, and Pulp Fiction. You will never see anything like Last Night in Soho again. And that's a rare thing nowadays. It dips into the experimental side of films, and that is something that has been somewhat lost in modern cinema.
I really enjoyed the first half of this movie. It was a happy story with some sinister undertone lurking behind it that gave the film a very creepy atmosphere. But when the movie starts to truly become a horror film, it falls completely apart. The story goes in all kinds of weird directions. It becomes extremely psychological and surreal. There are random, creepy shots that feel like something plucked straight out of a nightmare. It's a weird movie, man. I don't know what else to say.
And let me be clear: this movie is not fun to watch. It's a heavy, heavy movie that deals with a very dark subject matter. I don't think I will ever rewatch this movie. When I said Schindler's List was a part of the movies it feels like, this is what I meant. It tackles a very dark and gross part of humanity that is not fun to watch. It's uncomfortable and disgusting, but not in a good way at all. For some people, that will work. There are people that will appreciate this aspect of the movie. For me, however, it was the biggest problem in the film.
Near the middle of the movie, it also gets very repetitive. Eloise continues to visit the 60s and experience the same things. She keeps having these visions of ghosts. There are multiple freak-out scenes that involve some kind of supernatural psychological element. This cycle repeats itself probably four or five times, and it got boring after a while. Now, this is all changed in the third act, which totally embraces the weird side of this movie.
The movie also is much more focused on what happened in the 60s. Probably a third of the film takes place in the 60s while the other two thirds takes place during the present, but the 60s is the main plot of the movie. And since there is so much focus on the 60s, the characters in the present are very underdeveloped. There is one character, Jocasta, that acts as a stereotype of the popular mean girl. Besides that, I found none of the modern day characters to be interesting.
The film also kind of tosses logic in the trash. There are several major plot holes that are just left wide open. Certain characters say things in a very vague way so that other characters can be suspicious of them. There are obvious solutions to certain problems, but the characters avoid taking the easy road so that the story can progress. My main complaint with this aspect is the way that the central murder is handled. The twist involving the murder doesn't really make any sense at all.
Finally, because of the nature of the story, this film's structure is very wonky. The first half-hour of the movie is Eloise's life. The next twenty minutes or so is the first 60s flashback. Then it cuts between Eloise's life and the 60s. And I just think that it doesn't work as well as the filmmakers intended. It can feel like you are riding a very bumpy road because of the way that they structure the story.
Should you see Last Night in Soho?
For most general audiences: No. If you enjoy artsy, more experimental films, then check this movie out. If you are the average movie-goer like most people, your ten bucks are better spent somewhere else than on a ticket for Last Night in Soho.
Analogy and Final Score
Last Night in Soho is like a new meal. The kitchen attempts to make a new recipe and new meal to serve to customers. They throw in chicken, salt, applesauce, and bagels. Somehow, it works. But then they add more: yogurt, milk, syrup, steak, etc. And it just goes out of control and becomes gross.
Last Night in Soho is a mixture that works at the beginning, but falls apart when it veers into a bananas story that doesn't make sense and is too dark for me.
I have to go Sour here. Age range is 18+.
SWEET N' SOUR SCALE
Sweet (Great) Savory (Good)
"Last Night in Soho"
Fun Factor: 4.5/10
Directed by Edgar Wright
Rated R for nightmarish imagery, major sexual content, extremely disturbing themes, language, moderate violence, thematic elements
Released on October 29, 2021
1 hour and 56 minutes
Thomasin McKenzie as Eloise Turner
Anya Taylor-Joy as Sandie
Matt Smith as Jack
Terence Stamp as the Old Man
Michael Ajao as John
Diana Rigg as Ms. Collins
Rita Tushingham as Peggy Turner
Synnøve Karlsen as Jocasta