BARE BONES: LAST NIGHT IN SOHO (2021)

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last night in soho

LAST NIGHT IN SOHO (2021)

British thriller finds a young girl named Eloise (Thomasin McKenzie) traveling to London to become a fashion designer. Eloise also has a bit of a gift of sight and her sight activates upon taking a room in the home of the elderly Ms. Collins (Diana Rigg). She starts traveling back to the 60s where she begins to follow and live in the footsteps of a pretty young socialite named Sandie (Anya Taylor-Joy). First, she’s enjoying the experience and nightlife, until Sandie meets the mysterious Jack (Matt Smith) and things start to take a dangerous and dark turn for both Sandie and Eloise.

Flick is directed by Edgar (Shaun of the Dead) Wright from a script and story by he and Krysty Wilson-Cairns. As with all of Wright’s films the cinematography is sumptuous, the editing sharp and innovative and the soundtrack nearly perfect. Yet, despite being very well done, there is something missing here. Maybe it’s that we never really bond with McKenzie’s Eloise, or Taylor-Joy’s mysterious and aloof Sandie, to really get emotionally involved in what happens to them. Maybe it’s also that the clever and sometimes trippy set-up leads to a fairly routine murder thriller when all is said and done. The glitzy time traveling, spooky visions and Argento-like death scenes are well done, but it isn’t enough to really make us care about where this is all going. A pointless romantic subplot concerning Eloise and one of her coworkers doesn’t add anything either. There is an interesting twist in the last act, but once you peel back all the inventive smoke and mirrors, the story isn’t as involving as we would have liked and that twist not as impactful as it should have been. The cast, including Dame Diana Rigg and the legendary Terrance Stamp, are all good, though as stated, we never really warm up to McKenzie’s Eloise or Anya Taylor-Joy’s Sandie. Without the emotional anchor of being endeared to the lead characters, we just drift through the visual sea of Wright’s certainly interesting concoction. Odd, as endearing characters are usually one of Wright’s strengths. Liked it to a degree, but didn’t love it.

-MonsterZero NJ

2 and 1-2 star rating

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BARE BONES: HIS HOUSE (2020)

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HIS HOUSE (2020)

Supernatural chiller finds Sudanese refugees Boi (Sope Dirisu) and Rial (Wunmi Mosaku) seeking asylum in England. They are put on probation and sent to live in a small, decrepit house in a London ghetto. Still grieving over loosing their daughter (Malaika Abigaba) durning their harrowing escape, the couple now face harsh guidelines set by the British government, racism, prejudice and the struggle of assimilating without loosing their culture. Worse still, there is a malevolent entity in the house with them and Boi is determined to keep his new home at any cost.   

Film is written and directed by Remi Weekes and while the tropes are familiar, the perspective is not. The supernatural elements are steeped in Sudanese culture and are quite effective. It can be spooky at times and it’s messages about racism and the plight of refugees is subtly woven into the story. We also get some surprising reveals as to what this African spirit, called an apeth, wants and why it is there, along with some solid drama with the conflict between the eager to assimilate Boi and the reluctant Rial. The cast, which also includes Matt Smith (Dr. Who) as their case worker, are all very good and the visuals and FX are effective, with Javier Botet performing one of the entities. Flick is currently streaming on Netflix.

-MonsterZero NJ

3 star rating

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