Last Night in Soho
Runtime: 1h 56m
Director: Edgar Wright
Writers: Edgar Wright, Krysty Wilson-Cairns
Stars: Thomasin McKenzie, Anya Taylor-Joy, Matt Smith
Initial: I was on the fence about whether this movie is “horror” enough.
What Did I Think:
An Edgar Wright film with a retro soundtrack and razor sharp editing? Inconceivable!
At the heart of Last Night in Soho is the discomfort women feel in many situations. From the moment Eloise gets to London, men ogle her. She quickly learns to be paranoid of their intentions, but is still surprised that self-possessed Sandie can be taken in. I did appreciate that there was one good dude in the film, who is actually good.
Last Night in Soho works as a classic-style crime/ghost story. It’s sort of what might happen if you crossed The Lady in White (1988) with Suspiria (1977). I learned that the latter was in fact an influence for Wright; I’m not sure the film is better for its giallo roots. It’s about one hallucination-fueled chase and one explanatory montage too long.
Runtime: 1h 51m
Director: Sean Ellis
Writers: Sean Ellis
Stars: Boyd Holbrook, Kelly Reilly, Alistair Petrie
Initial: Hulu kept telling me that I would like The Cursed.
What Did I Think:
The Cursed is a werewolf movie. Sure, it’s a set of silver teeth that cause the first “infection” and the creatures are hairless mutants(?) that also have something to do with creepy roots, but it’s still a werewolf movie.
Ellis tries mightily to add some science to the proceedings. Our monster-hunter is a “pathologist” and in one scene he used a microscope to watch infected blood cells attack normal blood cells. Why bring science into it when you already have a set of cursed dentures perhaps made from Judas’s thirty pieces of silver? I don’t know.
The Cursed wasn’t boring, the nearly two-hour run-time flew by—it’s a great looking movie—but it was very predictable. The opening scene pretty much establishes the survival of one of the characters and the beats of the plot are pretty standard. But, still, there aren’t that many werewolf movies around . . .
Runtime: 1h 19m
Rated: (not rated)
Director: Rebekah McKendry
Writers: Joshua Hull, David Ian McKendry, Todd Rigney
Stars: Ryan Kwanten, J.K. Simmons, Sylvia Grace Crim
Initial: Apprehensive; this movie could go terribly wrong. Heartened by J. K. Simmons involvement.
What Did I Think:
I am so glad Glorious ended up being what I hoped instead of what I feared. I worried that it might go down a cringey sex road or, worse, just be a lot of utter nonsense. Instead, it walks a careful path of fun absurdity. With a lot of gore. There is a scene that is actually kind of beautiful in its goriness.
This is a two-man show. Ryan Kwanten’s Wes felt a little off to me in the scenes when he’s not in the restroom, but there’s a reason for that. J. K. Simmons is just about perfect for the voice of an elder god who happens to be semi-corporeal in bathroom stall.
Digression: I don’t have a great relationship with cosmic horror. In literature, especially the classic stories by Lovecraft, everything is very, very serious. And honestly, I think cosmic horror misses the point of what things are actually scary. The unknown is frightening, but cosmic horror is often at a scale that lacks context. I’ve always been annoyed that cosmic horror literature is so vague that I’m taking it at the author’s word that it’s scary. In comparison, uncanny things are very familiar, but slightly wrong Therefore, it’s easier to have basic reaction. Cosmic horror in the movies often ends up on the humorous side because laughter is probably the honest reaction to something of a scope mere mortal minds cannot fathom. I think cosmic horror is better when it embraces humor.
To sum up: Glorious was probably the most fun I’ve had watching a horror film since Psycho Goreman (2020).