A thrilling (Last) Night in Soho

Edgar Wright seeks to balance scares and thrills in latest film

PHOTO COURTESY/ YouTube Focus Features

PHOTO COURTESY/ YouTube Focus Features

Why do we love thrillers? For me, it’s the feelings of dread, fear and confusion that fall over the audience in anticipation of what’s to come. For my fellow fans of such films, the latest example is here. Edgar Wright, the beloved director of films like “Baby Driver” and “Scott Pilgrim,” deviates from his typical genres and delivers a truly wicked experience for the viewer in “Last Night in Soho.” With Thomasin McKenzie and Anya Taylor-Joy headlining the cast, this film is a great candidate for those looking for a scare this Halloween season, if nothing more.

For much of the film’s introduction, McKenzie’s Eloise is a relatable character who fails to fit in. As she stumbles deeper into the twisted nightmare Wright depicts for us, we experience her every emotion along the way. The film’s premise, as revealed in the trailers, revolves around the connection of Eloise and Taylor-Joy’s Sandie. Wright does a masterful job of portraying this to the audience through various camera shots and visuals. While Taylor-Joy’s character is not given the freedom to become a dynamic presence in the film, McKenzie’s performance is the true highlight and I expect her name to at least be mentioned during awards season.

At times, the film’s plot falls subject to that of the generic horror film, especially in the final act. The audience does not know whether it is appropriate to laugh at certain instances that stray from the predeveloped, serious tone. However, the combination of such elements with legitimate jump scares adds to the thrilling experience and if Wright intended this, I suppose he deserves some credit. Alas, with these flaws arriving primarily in the second half, I fear the film’s criticisms will be amplified due to their effects on the ending.

Overall, “Last Night in Soho” is an intense thriller that is not for the faint of heart. Wright’s world-building is phenomenal, providing an elegant glimpse into the nightlife of 1960s London while inserting Eloise as an active observer. However, as the magic of its cinematography wears off, the film becomes a bit too reminiscent of the average scary flick.

“Last Night in Soho” arrived in theaters nationwide on Oct. 29. As an important note, the film includes elements of sexual violence that may not be suitable for all audiences.