A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night has been on my must watch list for awhile now and yet until last night, I kept putting it off. I finally decided that since I was planning to check out The Bad Batch (Ana Lily Amipour’s follow up film) this weekend that I should probably get around to checking out A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night first. So what did I think?
A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night is the debut feature from Ana Lily Amirpour (The Bad Batch 2017). The film stars Sheila Vand (68 Kill 2017), Arash Marandi (Under The Shadow 2016), Marshall Manesh (Benjamin Troubles 2015), Mozhan Marno (The Blacklist 2014-2017 TV Series), Dominic Rains (Powers 2015-2016 TV Series), Rome Shadanloo (The Cottage 2012), and Milad Eghbali.
Strange things are afoot in Bad City. The Iranian ghost town, home to prostitutes, junkies, pimps, and other sordid souls, is a place that reeks of death and hopelessness, where a lonely vampire is stalking the towns most unsavory inhabitants. But when boy meets girl, an unusual love story begins to blossom…blood red.
The first Iranian Vampire Western, Ana Lily Amirpour’s debut feature A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night basks in the sheer pleasure of pulp. A joyful mash-up of genre, archetype and iconography, its prolific influences span spaghetti westerns, graphic novels, horror films, and the Iranian New Wave. Amped by a mix of Iranian rock, techno and Morricone-inspired riffs, its airy, anamorphic, black-and-white aesthetic and artfully drawn-out scenes combine the simmering tension of Sergio Leone with the surrealism of David Lynch.
A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night is an interesting film. It’s a vampire film but besides one scene, there is little to no blood. There are horror elements such as vampires and feeding scenes, but its not really a horror film per se. The film, at its core, is a story of two lonely people finding each other and falling in love under unusual circumstances. The film follows Arash, a young man who spends all his time trying to earn a living and support his heroin addicted father. His story intersects with that of The Girl, a vampire who stalks the streets at night on her skateboard, feeding on the men who prey on women. I really liked how in this film, nobody was truly good or bad – everyone was a shade of gray, but at the same time still relatable: Arash is a drug dealer and thief but he’s doing it for the right reasons; The Girl murders people but only feeds on men who do bad things; Arash’s father, Hossei, is a drug addict, but we are left to assume that’s due to the loss of his beloved wife.
The cast is excellent overall, with Sheila Vand stealing the show as The Girl. I had a hard time taking my eyes off of her whenever she was on screen. She’s beautiful, strong, vulnerable and terrifying. Arash Marandi did a wonderful job as Arash. It’s hard not to sympathize with his character and his relationship with The Girl is interesting given that it’s made fairly obvious when he first meets The Girl that she is a killer, yet he falls for her anyway. We don’t choose who we love, our heart does. Though his screen time is brief, Dominic Rains delivers a fun, sleazy and slimy performance as the pimp and I loved that the look of his character. He reminded me of Ninja from Die Antwoord (which, according to the trivia section on IMDb, was done intentionally). The film is shot and scored beautifully, which helps set the mood and theme of the movie, finding hope in despair.
A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night is an amazing film I wished I had watched sooner. It’s a beautifully shot film that relies little on gore and heavily on mood and emotion. If that sounds like something you would dig, then I highly recommend you give it a shot.