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Review

Last Night in SoHo

Last Night in SoHo – Shifting points of view and neat camera tricks keep the audience engaged and the novelty of a dual timeline horror thriller is sure to please anybody who sits down to watch the latest can’t miss movie from Edgar Wright.

85 / 100

Watchable Minutes : 100 / 116. I think there’s just a little bit extra fluff here and there in the third act. Once the story pieces start to fall into place, the audience can put together the ending pretty quickly. 

Trailer Comparison : Without spoiling anything, this trailer is a good representation of the final movie. I was initially irritated at first because it felt like there was too much given away in this final trailer, but it worked well with the movie. 

Movie or Film : Last Night in SoHo is an interesting horror movie from a director who doesn’t usually make things in this genre, but is still a movie nonetheless. 

Info : 

  • Run time : 1 hour 56 minutes
  • Studio : Universal
  • Director : Edgar Wright
  • Where to Watch : In Theaters

Summary : 

When Ellie is accepted into the London College of Fashion, she believes she is well on her way to achieving her dream and making her family proud. She soon arrives and discovers that university life is very different from what she’s used to. Ellie soon leaves her campus dorm room and moves into a one room studio apartment off campus. She is no stranger to having visions of the deceased and after one night in her new room, Ellie soon begins having visions of the past centered around a young woman named Sandie. As the lines between reality and her visions start to blur, Ellie is caught between her future and the ghosts of the past. 

Review : 

Last Night in SoHo is a British horror thriller by Edgar Write, Thomasin McKenzie, Anya Taylor-Joy, and Matt Smith. Wright is most known for the Three Flavors Cornetto Trilogy (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, The World’s End) and Baby Driver. While he usually pairs up with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost in comedic fashion, Last Night in SoHo is a decidedly different movie from Wright’s previous filmography. Set in London, a young woman and aspiring fashion designer named Ellie has recently been accepted into the prestigious London College of Fashion. Her past is largely unexplored, but the audience is given a few tidbits of relevant information. Her mother is deceased and Ellie can see her spirit, as evident by the first few scenes of the movie. Ellie is also obsessed with 60s fashion and media. Her grandmother is her caretaker and is well aware of Ellie’s ability to see her mother, asking her several times if she’s seen her recently. Ellie’s mother was also an aspiring fashion designer before she took her own life and Ellie is living this dream for her mother as well as for herself. Usually the less is more approach works well, but in this instance, I would have liked to see a little bit more about how Ellie was able to see her dead mother. I feel that it was brushed aside just a little too quickly.

When Ellie moves to London, it is very much the classic situation of a small-town girl moving to the big city. Ellie’s own grandmother says throughout the movie (as well as several other characters) that London can be a lot for those who aren’t used to it. After finding out that her dormmate is the polar opposite, Ellie moves out in the middle of the night and begins renting a studio apartment on the top floor of an old building in downtown London. Her landlord has very scritct requirements, but Ellie has come too far to let anything stop her. During her first night in her new apartment, she experiences a dream so life-like that she feels as if it actually happened. In her dream, a gorgeous young woman named Sandie explores SoHo with a can-do attitude that puts a target on her back. Sandie is everything that Ellie wants to be – bold, confident, and all with a killer sense of style. Ellie begins to borrow from her dreams and gains notoriety from her professors for her eye-catching throwback styles that are inspired by her dream companion. Ellie even begins to change her own appearance to match Sandie’s and catches the attention of one of her classmates.

Contrasting Sandie and Ellie as two women with similar goals but separated in time by 60 years was a smart choice by Wright. It lends itself well to the story to see both women progress their their journeys and allows the audience to see two different eras on screen at the same time. Following Ellie through her dreams and the constant perspective switches from Sandie to Ellie is very well done. The camerawork during these scenes is incredible, with everything syncing up smoothly. Showing the two actresses opposite each other in mirrors and having them switch places several times in each scene was visually pleasing and technically impressive. This effect does start to lose its novelty a little over halfway through the run time, but it is dropped entirely in the final act.

As the dreams continue and Ellie becomes more and more involved in Sandie’s story, she watches as the glamour and desire of SoHo catches up to Sandie and the toll becomes almost too much to bear. This perfectly matches Ellie’s experience at university, as she is constantly tested and pushed to the point of breaking. She’s working hard and starting from scratch, but she’s on a mission to prove herself. The similarities between the two women are eventually split as Ellie’s dreams soon turn to nightmares as Sandie’s life becomes a living hell. Sandie put her faith in Jack, a man she thought would help her achieve her dreams, but instead he has now taken total control over her life. She turns to drugs and alcohol to keep herself together and Ellie watches as Sandie spirals out of control. Ellie eventually believes that she witnessed Sandie’s murder at the hands of Jack and soon Sandie begins to haunt Ellie’s footsteps and appears in the waking hours as Ellie goes to the police to report a murder from 60 years ago. Ellie’s one close friend named John witnesses a moment of panic and offers to help Ellie uncover the past. As the lines between reality blur, the past begins to catch up with Ellie and her gift to see spirits soon feels as if it is a curse that will cause Ellie to suffer the same fate as Sandie.

Without spoiling the ending, the story goes on to reveal a few twists and turns that were largely unexpected until the third act as things start to fall into place. A few visual easter eggs that Wright is known for make their way into the background and clue the audience in nicely. The twist isn’t spoonfed to the audience, but rather it is revealed to Ellie just after the movie gives the audience the chance to figure it out first. Giving the audience knowledge that the characters don’t have is crucial to a story like this and Wright doles it out wonderfully. There is foreshadowing applenty for those that are receptive to little clues that make the reveal all the more satisfying. However, there are a few areas that are lacking some potentially crucial information and a few gaps in story telling that may leave audiences scratching their heads. For example, what ended up happening to Mrs. Collins reputation? Why did Sandie’s ghost appear to Ellie at the end of the movie? Can she see other spirits that aren’t directly connected with her? How did Ellie get away with almost stabbing her classmate with a large pair of scissors? None of these questions are answered and are mostly swept under the rug in hopes that the audience would just forget about them. While this is categorized as a horror movie, there are only a few scenes that really provide any scares. They are mostly cheap jump scares that don’t add up to much overall. Aside from that, there are a few moments of dread as the audience guesses what will happen next, but nothing all that scary.

Throughout Last Night in SoHo, Thomasin McKenzie and Anya Taylor-Joy play opposite each other and the audience is given a wide array of situations to see these actresses thrive. McKenzie is quiet and small at times, but then she is loud and puts all her emotions on display ranging from excitement and curiosity, fear and anger, to quiet discontent. There aren’t many actresses that could replace Thomasin McKenzie as Ellie, but the character is definitely not going to be tied to her for very long as she continues in her career. On the flip side, Anya Taylor-Joy is the only actress that could have brought Sandie to life in this movie and did a remarkable job doing so. It’s not so much the her ability, but the fit she has in 1960s London. The gauntlet of soul sucking situations that Sandie goes through are handled perfectly and the audience can see the life and innocence leaving Sandie every time she’s on screen. Lastly, Matt Smith plays the smooth talking, silver tongued creep that lures women to bad situations. He is suave and fun to lure them in, but then becomes cold and dangerous a few scenes later. Smith and Taylor-Joy mesh together well in their scenes when they are sweet on each other, but then clearly despise each other as the movie progresses. Matt Smith also has the same look that shows he belongs in 1960’s London, similar to Taylor-Joy. The supporting cast does a fine job of uplifting the main characters and allows them to do what they need to do, but nobody has a particularly stand out performance.

Every Edgar Wright movie has a knock out soundtrack and Last Night in SoHo is no exception. There are certain movies were the soundtrack and score design make the movie and this is one of them. Baking the soundtrack into a personality trait of the main characters was an easy, but effective way to make it fit naturally. SoHo in London is a cultural proving ground for fashion, music, and nightlife activities and the audience is given every opportunity to explore the chic world in the 60s and modern day. The visuals in each era are stunning and incredibly clear. Instead of putting a dream like haze over the dream sequences, each frame is vivid and colorful. Each moment is almost too good to be true. But once the nightmares take hold, everything shifts to a dark red color palette and there are murky shadows applenty which makes for a pleasing contrast.

Last Night in SoHo is an entertaining way to spend a dreary weekend and with an all-star cast like this, any audience will have be hard pressed to find many flaws. Throwback movies tend to put rose tinted nostalgia glasses for times that modern audiences didn’t get to experience, but Edgar Wright puts things into perspective with this fusion of modern and classic movie making. Shifting points of view and neat camera tricks keep the audience engaged and the novelty of a dual timeline horror thriller is sure to please anybody who sits down to watch the latest can’t miss movie from Edgar Wright.

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