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Last Night in Soho (2021)

When the news broke that Edgar Wright was making his long-awaited return to his somewhat horror and otherworldly root's, I was there on the front line championing this movie all the way to the finish line. However, as seems to be the reoccurring theme for me these days, another new release came and passed me by and I have only just gotten around to checking this movie out. Given the high praise this received from horror fans and critics from all corners of the internet, it’s safe to say expectations were high.


Given that Wright is an avid music fan, it's no surprise to see that he incorporates an abundance of great scores and soundtracks to help manipulate the audiences emotions. Taking into account the time period in which this is set, there is no surprise to see big hits from artist such as Sandie Shaw, The Kinks, Cilla Black and Siouxsie and the Banshees, featuring on the soundtrack. One thing that is always a guarantee with any Edger Wright production is his impeccable taste for music from any era and genre.


The casting is almost flawless, with spellbinding performances from all three of the main central cast - Thomasin McKenzie as Eloise, Anya Talyor-Joy as Sandy and Matt Smith as Jack. McKenzie is an actress who I have been familiar with from multiple bit parts over the years, but here she really comes into her own, showing she has the talent to carry the weight of a production as big as this all on her own. If I had to pick anyone's performance apart it would likely be Terrance Stamp. I found him to be constantly wooden yet at the same time unnaturally eccentric, which is a shame as I know he has delivered incredible performances throughout his long spanning career in film and television.


One of the biggest stand out moments for me has to be the direction and cinematography used during the scene that featuring Jack and Eloise and her "alter ego" Sandie, dancing. Not only is this scene truly mesmerising to watch, but the entire sequence is done in a single shot as we see a naturally transition between Eloise and Sandy as they simultaneously trade places as each of them elegantly glade across the ballroom floor. This sequence alone is testament to the vision that is Edger Wright. I implore you, if you haven't already, to watch the behind the scenes videos of how this sequence came to be, to truly appreciate its incredible choreography.


As disappointing as it is for me to say this, due to the incredible production values up until this point, I found the ultimate revelation really compromises everything that had come before. It does this by falling into lazy horror troupes to round out a rather captivating tale of mystery and wonder that I felt deserved better. My eye rolling continued as we were gradually introduced to various demonic faced victims of the past - the CGI showcasing their ghoulish faces is disastrous. Add to that the abysmal fire effects that burned through the building in the final act and it’s not hard to feel visually let down by these scenes.


As someone who is a big fan of Wright's work, especially his earlier projects, this felt like it had too much Hollywood interference for it to be considered a passion project like so the majority of his back catalogue. And although there is certainly his signature stamp on all of the shinning moments of 'Last Night in Soho', overall it just fell flat at the final hurdle for me. It’s almost definitely worth your time, but lower your expectations as this is not the masterpiece it was presented as by so many other fans and critics out there.


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