One of the most popular filmmakers of our generation has got to be the United Kingdom’s own Edgar Wright. With films such as “Baby Driver,” “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World” and “The Cornetto Trilogy,” Wright has established himself as a household name and with every new release, as fans eagerly anticipate a new vision.
However, this is his first film that breaks away from the action and comedy genres and instead, it dives into horror. Wright has been very vocal about his love for the horror genre, which can be inferred after he name drops some iconic classics that influenced his new feature.
Wright’s new film, “Last Night in Soho,” tells the story of Eloise, a young, up and coming fashion designer who dreams big in London, but is soon involved with time traveling back to the past where she is a young singer named Sandy. The film stars Thomasin McKenzie, Anya Taylor Joy and Matt Smith. Like many, I am a big fan of Wright’s previous work. Growing up, I used to worship his style and still look forward to new projects from him; even if his protagonist’s character writing comes off as red-flaggy (I’m looking at you, Scott Pilgrim). After I heard he was planning to dive into my favorite genre while also playing with the giallo horror subgenre, I was already signed up from the moment filming began.
I wish I could write endless praises like I do with Wright’s other works, but I could not be more disappointed with “Last Night in Soho.” Trust me, this pains me to say it.
Edgar Wright just does not understand how to make a horror film with a compelling story and is more focused on attempting to say something. It’s attempt to tell themes of femininity and nostalgia feel so shallow and unsubstantial, this coming from a white male who embodies the same personality as one of his lead characters.
Yes, Thomasin McKenzie and Anya Taylor Joy are very good in the film, maybe even by far the best part, but it feels strange. Slowly as the film unravels itself, there are more questions left open and less answered. This makes the storytelling a total mess.
It’s one thing if a filmmaker had no familiarity with a new genre, but from a vocal standpoint, his attempt at scaring the audience and engaging with them, only makes me roll my eyes and yawn. This is surprising since Wright has shown an undying love for horror.
For many that are not aware, the Italian horror subgenre known as “giallos,” is mainly about whimsical stories that are done by actors in an off-kilter way to provide a sense of unease. It also includes some dark humor acting intentionally, as ways to creep out audiences. Yes, some giallos have colorful lighting, but that should not be the main takeaway. However, Wright saw that as such and sure it is nice to look at but for what purpose. Wright’s fast paced editing feels so off here, in his other films it provides a sense of comedic relief, but in “Last Night in Soho” it feels more like a headache.
It really pains me to call “Last Night in Soho” my most disappointing film I have seen all year, it really does. With shallow themes, questionable intentions, unfocused storytelling and unclear motivations for its existence, Edgar Wright should just stick to comedy movies. He really succeeds at those.