LAST NIGHT IN SOHO (REVIEW)
Dir. Edgar Wright
Reviewer. Martyn Wakefield
Who says horror is dead? Edgar Wright's 60s infused thriller is a feast for the eyes and one not to be missed. A perfectly crafted nostalgic trip and one that shares much in common with the Gothic horror of Guillermo Del Toro blended with the soundscape of Dusty Springfield and Sandie Shaw.
Thomasin McKensie is Eloise, an aspiring fashion designer who moves from Cornwall to London in a quest to do her deceased mother proud and further her prospective dreams. While not getting along with her city loving housemates, she moves into a townhouse in Soho and before long is mysteriously able to enter the 1960s where she encounters a dazzling wannabe singer (played by Anya Taylor Joy). Flitting back and forth, the visions of the 60s influence and bring out a confidence in Eloise shy nature and does wonders for her fashion designs however, this is a horror film, and before long the fantasy begins to crumble and somewhere between the reality of life in the 60s and her quest to uncover a murder, Eloise herself begins to feel lost.
Wright's film, from the opening scene, is a love letter to the 60s and it's as much about the rich sound as the textured visuals that magically create a world that feels familiar, yet fantastique, at the same time. The clever sound design that feels authentic yet somehow enriched as if it were recorded back in the era is married perfectly with the soundtrack of classics and an early appearance of Cilla Black being bought into the fold is just a small touch that shows how much love Wright has for the era. As the inevitable chaos unravels, the worlds of now and then begin to merge and the cinematography from Chung-hoon Chung should be at the centre of awards season.
While Anya Taylor Joy and Matt Smith bring the swinging sixties to life with a firm punch, each giving glitz and glamour to the timepiece but also showing why they are the Burton and Taylor of this generation, it's Thomasin McKenzie who really is the heart and soul if this film. The balance of naivity and alienation is captured brilliantly and every nuance feels like a strange sense of madness yet understandable. With the likes of Taylor Joy, Smith, Terence Stamp and the brilliant curtain call of Diana Rigg, McKenzie stands tall amongst them and truly is the ensemble of the year.
At times, a swinging 60s escapism, others a murder mystery all wrapped around a terrifying sense of Hitchcockian nightmare. LAST NIGHT IN SOHO is more akin to the gothic horror of Guillermo Del Toro than anything else in the genre but crafts it's own scars into the genre that Wright so evidently loves (take a look at SHAUN OF THE DEAD and we say no more) and here delivers his first, and hopefully not last, genre entry.
Without giving too much away, the film has a few nasty turns and while it hooks you in with a magical tour of London, the luminous lights and high life don't last too long and firmly reminds you this is a horror film like no other this year.