- Film & TV
- 28 Oct 21
Hitting cinemas today, Edgar Wright’s psychological horror boasts a bravura performance from Anya Taylor-Joy.
1. IT’S THE PERFECT HALLOWEEN MOVIE
With 2004’s horror-comedy Shaun Of The Dead, cult English director Edgar Wright was right to the fore in repopularising zombie movies in the 21st century. Created in cahoots with Spaced co-star Simon Pegg, the hit horror-comedy was an inspired riff on the work of schlock maestro George A. Romero.
Now, with the brand new Last Night In Soho – in which newcomer Thomasin McKenzie stars as fashion student Eloise Turner, who’s transported back in time to inhabit the body of ‘60s singer Sandie (Anya Taylor-Joy) – Wright has made the sort of psychological thriller his fans always craved. Stylistically inspired by cult Brit horror classics Don’t Look Now and Repulsion, this ticks all the boxes for a dream – or should that be nightmare – Halloween movie.
2: ANOTHER MEMORABLE PERFORMANCE FROM ANYA TAYLOR-JOY
Currently one of the biggest stars in the world on the back of Netflix smash The Queen’s Gambit, the 25-year-old actress is simply spellbinding again in Last Night In Soho as Eloise, whose glamorous life in Swinging ’60s London becomes engulfed by darkness. Taylor-Joy actually appeared in another feature earlier this year, Here Are The Young Men, Eoin Macken’s excellent adaptation of Rob Doyle’s 2014 novel, about a group of Dublin teens adrift in a sea of violence and excess.
The actress’ ability to effortlessly step into the shoes of a complex Dublin teenager again showed her to be one of the most gifted screen performers of her generation, a status she confirms with this latest turn. Wright actually became of her when serving as a judge on the 2015 Sundance Jury, when he saw her breakthrough performance in the equalling chilling The Witch – horror clearly being one of the many genres in which Taylor-Joy excels.
3: EXCELLENT SUPPORT CAST
Though McKenzie and Taylor-Joy lead the way, Last Night In Soho is crammed with top-notch talent. Having been catapulted to international stardom courtesy of his role as Prince Philip in the other Netflix smash du jour, The Crown, Matt Smith again delivers the goods as Jack, Sandie’s love interest. Equally appealing is the presence of two beloved older screen favourites: Terence Stamp as the Silver Haired Man who takes an interest in Sadie, and Avengers and Game Of Thrones star Diana Rigg, who features as Eloise’s landlady. Poignantly, Last Night In Soho is Rigg’s final big screen appearance and the film is co-dedicated to her memory.
4: TERRIFIC SOUNDTRACK
As anyone who has seen Wright’s 2017 thriller Baby Driver can attest, his soundtrack taste is as impeccable as that of his mate Quentin Tarantino – that movie had a series of memorable needle drops, including tracks from Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Sam & Dave, Beck, Blur, and Danger Mouse featuring Run The Jewels and Big Boi.
Notably, the aforementioned Tarantino had a central role in the naming of Wright’s latest effort: during a conversation between the two, QT mentioned that fellow director Allison Anders had described Last Night In Soho – the name of a 1968 hit single – as “the best title music for a film that’s never been made”. Clearly, Wright couldn’t resist the challenge.
Once again, the musical texture of the film is, well, note perfect, expertly reflecting the unique vibrancy of the place and era. And, for good measure, Taylor-Joy has cut a version of the iconic ‘Downtown’ for the soundtrack...
5: THE WRIGHT STUFF
Having made his name alongside Pegg on cult sitcom Spaced, Wright announced himself as a major cinematic player with Shaun Of The Dead and the equally impressive Hot Fuzz. The 2010 comic book adaptation Scott Pilgrim vs. The World had the critics in raptures, and Baby Driver repeated the trick, whilst adding monster box office returns into the bargain.
Quite simply, Wright at this point is a director at the very top of his game, and 2021 may well be his most exciting year yet: having already delivered The Sparks Brothers – a documentary about the titular synth-pop pioneers – with Last Night in Soho, he showcases his chops as a horror maestro to winning effect. Gripping and atmospheric, with plenty of blood-curdling scares, it’s one devilish treat you shouldn’t forgo this Halloween.
Last Night In Soho is in cinemas from today.
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