Last Night In Soho – Edgar Wright

Image Credits: Focus Features LLC

“Has a woman ever died in my room?”

“This is London. Someone has died in every room in every building and on every street corner in the city.”

Yesterday I finally watched Edgar Wright’s thriller/horror movie “Last Night in Soho”. I had been wanting to watch it since it first was presented in Venice about a year ago, so I was very happy when I found out it was part of the movie selection for the 11th edition of the “Cinema at the Priamar Fortress” nights in Savona, Italy, where I am spending part of the summer. It was a very successful program as they screened plenty of movies from the past year and I recommend anyone spending the summer in Liguria to see at least one movie at the Fortress; it was magical to watch the film under the stars, immersed in the quietness of the place. The audience is very respectful of the screening that it’s taking place and it reminded me of my movie-watching experience at Locarno Film Festival .

“Last Night in Soho” was screened for this edition’s closing night. I won’t go into details about the plot because I don’t want to spoil anything for you, but the movie is essentially about Eloise, a girl who enrolls at the London College of Fashion in order to become a fashion designer; when she rents a bedroom in the city she finds herself experiencing vivid and increasingly scary visions of an aspiring singer named Sandie, who happened to live in London during the Swinging 60s. Nothing is as it seems and the glamour hides something more sinister, so Eloise finds herself witnessing a reality which is far more darker.

Image Credits: Focus Features LLC

The story focuses on the concept of time, as the past resurfaces and reveals itself to be less perfect than what is generally remembered, so it references our idealizations and obsessions about a Golden Age, where things seemed to be better, even perfect, compared to the present times. The movie plays with these themes, giving meaning to the quote “not all that glitters is gold.”; it has a hypnotizing rhythm and I was on the edge of my seat for most of the time! It can be described as a psychological horror with nostalgic vibes of the 60s Swinging London, dealing with romanticizing a glamorous past which hides the realistic, dark side of show business and its eventual dangers.

The intense cinematography and the 60s soundtrack (one of the best soundtracks ever!) make for a captivating movie, curated in every single aspect, from the look of the characters, to the sets and the art direction. Thomasin McKenzie and Anya Taylor-Joy (the latter rose to prominence playing the role of Elisabeth in The Queen’s Gambit), who play the two main characters, carry the movie on their shoulders and they succeed in doing so, as their acting is never over the top and they manage to capture the mood of every scene.

There are a few scenes that make you think about how a fashion designer finds inspiration when designing a collection and the role of the designer as a creative person who is also a visionary, someone having visions or dreams that lead them to putting together a collection. I think that fashion is also a character in this film, and the way it is portrayed is fascinating and different from what we are used to seeing.

Image Credits: Focus Features LLC

The movie is technically impeccable and it pays tribute to Dario Argento’s Suspiria; one can recognize the similarities both in the color palette and in some of the horror aspects, especially the murderous scenes, but Last Night in Soho is a movie very unique in itself and cannot simply be reduced to a mainstream horror movie, as its aspects of mystery and post-modern thriller tend to prevail upon the horror parts. It is edited to have both modern and 60s vibes and the result is outstanding, even though this is not a film for everyone (it is probably like watching a Cronenberg movie, and I am a huge Cronenberg fan by the way!), since someone may not appreciate its contrasts and the deconstructing process of the world the movie inhabits.

Image Credits: Focus Features LLC

The tone of the film reminded me of Nicolas Winding Refn’s “The Neon Demon” but it also has the atmosphere of Dario Argento’s Suspiria, so there is a strong reference to classics of the giallo genre (the blue and red neon palette made it impossible for me not to think of Suspiria, as it is an homage to Dario Argento’s horror masterpiece). During the promotion of Last Night in Soho, Edgar Wright talked about his willingness to explore psychological horror and cited Alfred Hitchcock and Dario Argento among his inspirations; some films by these legendary directors are definitely a must-watch for you if you enjoyed Last Night in Soho.

OTHER MOVIES TO WATCH: I have already mentioned Dario Argento’s “Suspiria”(1977) and Nicholas Winding Refn’s “The Neon Demon”(2016), which I found even more shocking than Last Night in Soho, especially because of its ending.

Edgar Wright’s movie “Baby Driver”(2017) is more of an action/comedy but I found it absolutely riveting and it has a great soundtrack too!

I also would recommend another movie starring Anya Taylor-Joy, Cory Finley’s “Thoroughbreds”(2017), which is quite suspenseful and dark as well.



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