“Last Night In Soho” Leaves Audiences Puzzled. Did It Miss The Mark?

Just as we approach Halloween weekend, Edgar Wright’s second release of 2021 (following his rockumentary The Sparks Brothers) is Last Night in Soho, out now in theaters. The trailers and ads led movie fans to believe this would be a trippy, retro horror flick for the fall season; though the release date so late into October suggests the studio might not believe the film will have legs at the box office.

Wright himself has a nice, dedicated fanbase who probably would support him out of commitment, with past cult hits like Shaun of the Dead (2004), Hot Fuzz (2007) and Baby Driver (2017). So now, with the combination of his unique, flashy directing style, plus his obvious appreciation of music from the 1960s-1970s, does Wright deliver once more this year with Last Night in Soho?


In modern-day England, small-town 18-year-old Eloise ‘Ellie’ Turner (Thomasin McKenzie) is leaving home for the first time to attend fashion school out in London. After a decade of living with only her grandmother (Rita Tushingham), Ellie is excited to experience the big city, especially as an avid fanatic of 1960s pop culture, where London was a landmark. This makes her destination of London College of Fashion very appropriate as the ‘60s was also one of the most fashionable decades and serves as inspiration for Ellie’s design projects. Things start off well until Ellie moves into a room in downtown Soho and instantly starts having vivid dreams and fantasies involving a local showgirl, Sandie (Anya Taylor-Joy) and her boyfriend-manager Jack (Matt Smith) in 1965 Soho.        

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Wright really made sure the film appears through the eyes of a young, modern ‘60s fan, to the point where if someone were to go into this movie blind, they might not realize for a few scenes the story is technically contemporary. Casting UK film legends Tushingham, Terence Stamp, Margaret Nolan and Diana Rigg as supporting characters; filling the soundtrack with of classic British Invasion hits such as Peter & Gordon, Dusty Springfield and Cilla Black; and Odile Dicks-Mireaux’s period costumes gives off the vintage aesthetic flowingly.

Fans have been waiting for Wright to do some legitimate horror since his fake trailer, ‘Don’t!’ was featured in the Quentin Tarantino/Robert Rodriguez double feature Grindhouse (2007). All this plus McKenzie and Taylor-Joy, two of the hottest indie darlings on the scene, should have made it easy for Last Night in Soho to succeed. So why the underwhelming responses from critics and viewers on social media? Well, like a lot of disappointing films, it’s the script.

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Wright and co-screenwriter Krysty Wilson-Cairns have a lot of themes and messages they want to get across through the plot, but not enough time or even proper development to support them. We begin thinking Last Night might be showing us the artificialness of glamorized nostalgia, but then it seems like it might be a cautionary tale about show business, only to quickly turn into a supernatural horror piece, and then actually switch to a crime mystery by the end. The ending in particular is rather off-balance and makes it hard to believe a woman co-wrote the screenplay. On top of all this, we never really know how Ellie has the power to see so far back into the past, other than a slim explanation of trauma-related hallucinations.

Last Night in Soho should have been an artsy slam dunk for fans of Wright, McKenzie and Taylor-Joy, but unfortunately misses the mark as a story.


Does Last Night in Soho look interesting to you? Are you a fan of 1960s media? Let us know in the comments!

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