Last Night in SoHo is an imaginative horror/’ghost’ story from the mind of Edgar Wright. I last visited the Wright Cinematic Universe in 2021, with his Sundance Film Festival documentary feature, The Brothers Sparks (recommended in its own right). But you are not here to get my take on that one.
What works for me
The visuals. In the thriller/horror genre, the desired impact the visual design has on a film is all about their timing. If not metered properly, the moment is lost and there is no going back. In an era where for my money, jump scares are wearing thin, Wright managed to get more than one “Oh sh*t” moment out of me.
The sound design. A trademark of many of Wright’s films has been his use of sound to punctuate what we see on screen. In Last Night of SoHo, is no different. Listen to Wright speak directly to this:
A story that I can go with. At each turn of the story, I found myself intrigued and wanting to solve the mystery at the center of the plot. Mind you, there are enough breadcrumbs available for the most astute viewers to puzzle out for themselves. But it was so darn pleasurable that I did not mind. In the world of cinema, sometimes we can get caught up in the art and intellectual exercise of it all. You may even have a sense of how the plot is going to resolve itself. But remember at the heart of any cinematic experience is the joy of the journey that keeps us entertained. And for me, Last Night in SoHo takes you on such an adventure.
Solid lead performances. The principal leads, Eloise (Thomasin McKenzie) and Sandy (Anya Taylor-Joy) do a wonderful job of playing two sides of the same coin. Their stories, converge, overlap, and go everywhere in between. Without always occupying the same space, the performances are rather seamless.
What didn’t work for me
Outside of the lead performances, many (not all) of the secondary characters fell flat for me. Overall, they did not serve any narrative purpose or help to appreciably advance the story. The one exception is Matt Smith, who upon further reflection, I would elevate to a lead performance.
And a lovely surprise
In a slight counter to my previous note, I will call out one of the secondary character performances that delighted me. The presence of Rita Tushingham was a sight for sore eyes. Yes, I am aware that her career spans the decades, but in the lead-up to seeing Last Night in SoHo, I did very little “pre-search,” so when she appeared on screen, I recognized her and was well pleased.
A film which takes place in the swinging 60s of London should have an actor synonymous with that era. While not given as much to do as Diana Rigg (to whom the film is dedicated) and Terrence Stamp, it is a sweet wink and a nod to audiences who remember her from films which include her feature film debut, A Taste of Honey (1961) and The Knack… and How to Get It (1965). Here, she takes on the role of Eloise’s grandmother.
For fans of the horror genre, this is a welcomed, if not lighter addition. It is quite imaginative and as I have previously stated – with some moments that are quite visually arresting. In that light, I give this film a recommendation as one of my favorite films of the past year.
Note: Since the original post, Last Night in SoHo is now available for streaming and purchase on physical and digital media.