Edgar Wright is often associated with high-octane, entertaining fun in his films with a great dose of comedy and action that is unmatched. But after his last five narrative feature films, the versatile director has stepped outside his wheelhouse and has made a truly compelling, super suspenseful psychological horror movie - Last Night In Soho. Even though this might be Wright's least fun film to date, it shows how far along he's come as a filmmaker with a different tone, theme, and visual style that is an impressive stretch of his abilities. This true horror movie not only conjures up amazing scares, but it tells a fantastic story set in two different time periods with a killer soundtrack that could only be curated by Wright himself. Highly Recommended!
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Wright burst onto the scene with his excellent tv show Spaced, which resulted in his iconic Cornetto Trilogy (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, The World's End). From there, he tackled the world of video games and comic books with Scott Pilgrim, then went onto a violent action comedy with a killer soundtrack in Baby Driver. All of those films have a few similarities in their visual styles with kinetic creative edits to beats of music, hilarious comedic dialogue, pop culture references, and its characters having a ton of fun on screen, no matter what the situation demands. This is not exactly the case with Last Night In Soho. It's as if Wright moved to the next stage in his filmmaking career and is trying on a new visual style with different but still impressive ways of shooting and editing his movies. Not only that, Last Night In Soho takes itself deathly seriously and one would be hard-pressed to find anything to laugh at here as it intensely sticks to its horror roots.
The movie follows a young woman named Ellie (Thomasin McKenzie of Jojo Rabbit), who lives with her grandma after her mother took her own life. About to journey to college in the big city, Ellie is set on becoming a big fashion designer, but her sixth sense of seeing her dead mother in mirrors still freaks her out. Not having many friends and never smitten with a boy, her grandma makes sure she is okay to venture out to big city life for the first time on her own. Once Ellie is at college, it's clear that bullies are still in her life that would rather get drunk and put her down than encourage her to succeed.
From here, she takes up residence down the street from her dorm to get some peace and quiet which is where her sixth sense really kicks in and she is transported back to '60s swinging London where she trades places with a beautiful and outgoing lounge singer and dancer named Sandie (Anya Taylor-Joy of The Witch and The Queen's Gambit). When she wakes up, she can't wait to fall asleep again to become this completely alternate personality. Ellie is infatuated with Sandie because she embodies all the charm, courage, and personality that Ellie isn't. That is until all of Sandie's success comes at a harsh price. As Sandie's layers unfold, ghosts, monsters, blood, guts, and more start cropping up in Ellie's life both in her dreams and in the present day as she tries to solve a series of ghastly murders that keep haunting her every waking moment.
Wright has taken a cue from M. Night Shyamalan in his storytelling by only delivering a small number of clues as to what exactly is happening on screen. But then at the end, just when everyone is thought to have figured everything out, there's a good old, big twist or two that will cause some polarizing reactions. The journey to this moment is nothing short of thrilling and highly suspenseful as Ellie begins to lose her grip on reality and a body count starts to pile up. Wright also has a great eye for some inventive jump scares here too. McKenzie and Joy are simply outstanding in these roles. Both exude charisma and every emotion under the sun to convey a believable and fantastic character. It's truly a pleasure to watch both actresses perform this heavy-duty role.
Wright's direction has grown over time and this maturity as a filmmaker shows with some new, inventive cuts that transform everybody from modern times to the 1960s, along with the appearance of those truly creepy monsters that pop up out of nowhere. The soundtrack and song list are as impressive as ever. Last Night In Soho is a brand new day for Edgar Wright and one hell of a scary film. Highly Recommended!