A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014) Review

Spoiler-free so you can read before you watch

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014) Review

Horrorific content by TE Simmons on December 14th, 2021 | Movie Review | Vampire, Slow Burn, Western, Romance, Arthouse

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It’s about a fanged young lady, a hardworking man, and a pliant cat.

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night was written and directed by Ana Lily Amirpour (The Bad Batch) and stars Sheila Vand (The Fall of the House of Usher and The Rental) as the eponymous “Girl,” Arash Marandi (Fireflies and A Dysfunctional Cat)), and Mozhan Marnò (appearing in the House of Cards and The Blacklist televisions series).

Can a man and a vampire find true love?

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night Review

This black and white genre-bender – a noir-ish, pulpy spaghetti-western fairy-tale romance– packs a wallop. Spoken in Farsi with subtitles, the film is set in “Bad City, Iran,” but it was filmed in Taft, California, with donkey pumpers chugging away everywhere. It is skillfully overlaid with a compelling soundtrack featuring bands like White Lies and Radio Tehran.

Everyone here is a consumer, by theft, toil, trade, or, in the case of vampires and lovers, by taste.. The oil wells pump stuff from the ground. The junkies pump junk into themselves. The johns feed off the prostitutes. The girl drinks from her victims.

From the opening scene lazily unfolding behind the title cards, a young man (Arash, we later learn) smokes in sunglasses and a crisp t-shirt. He’s cool, but he’s up to something. He slips in behind a fenced area, then reappears with a cat drooped over his arm and strides away.

Did he just steal a pet? Or was that his cat? The questions might be trivial, but the answers are intentionally withheld, and the viewer leans into the screen, hooked.

Director Amirpour, in an interview with Roger Corman, described the first time when she tried on a chador: “For me, when I put it on, I felt very bad-ass. It has a weight and it moves a certain way and I just felt like a stingray and I wanted to be on a skateboard.” It was this moment that she first conceived the film and the girl vampire walking home alone at night.

The wordy film title suggests the vignette of a victim; a girl walking home (unprotected) alone and at night. But like the inversion of the chador – for some, a symbol of oppression – into a superhero cape, at least in Amirpour’s experience, the film also transposes other expectations. The girl who walks home alone at night is, in fact, the aggressor, and a very bad-ass vampire indeed, hidden within the flowing movement of her chador.

This is a delightful, mesmerizing debut. Amirpour is a bad-ass director (she was purportedly a stand-in for the film’s skateboarding sequences). Her first film deserves close attention and repeated viewings.

Worth Watching?

In Farsi, one might say, Chashm. You should emphatically watch this film.

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night Review (2014) Worth Watching? - ALL HORROR Tweet it

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