Let me begin by saying that Ana Lily Amirpour, the very talented director of A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, may not be a household name yet, but if her first feature length film is any indication, she absolutely will be…moving on…
Filmed completely in black and white and set in modern day “Bad City”, Iran (here portrayed by various parts of California), Girl is a fun and poignant indie horror-drama about a group of strangers trying to make their way through day to day life in a less than nurturing environment and the mysterious lady vampire (Sheila Vand) who comes creeping into their midst. The bloodsucker in question is a diminutive, nameless girl who stalks Bad City in a long, billowing Hijab that hugs around her small frame like a cape. She’s an odd sight at first, silently hunting the streets like a predator, although her big vulnerable eyes and delicate features proclaim her to be anything but dangerous…however dangerous she is, and it isn’t long before the sinners of Bad City find out how lethal this young girl can be.
The girl is a fascinating character, harmless and even protective to some, merciless and deadly to others, she keeps mostly to herself, dances alone in her room to indie dance music (Farah’s Dancing Girls…which incidentally is totally stuck in my head right now) and rides around town on a pilfered skateboard. Lets face it, this vamp chick is kinda awesome, and a refreshing departure from the more familiar “bride of Dracula” type of female vampire, who traditionally have more cleavage than substance.
Much like an old West gunslinger, this girl is a fearsome loner, destined to walk the night in solitude…that is, until she meets Arash (Arash Marandi) and the two fall sweetly in love, despite the fact that she’s a killer and he’s an accidental drug dealer.
Accidental, you ask?
Indeed…allow me to explain. One of the more amusing scenes in A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night is when the vamp chick goes home with drug dealer/pimp/raging dickhead Saeed (Dominic Rains, who is gorgeous to look at, but whose last performance in the horrifically bad Jinn consisted mostly of confused looks and shirtless hilarity…after this though, we cool) and we get to see how ferocious she truly is. I won’t say much about the scene, but let’s just say that Saeed’s attempts to “seduce” the vamp are fucking hilarious….but I digress. Once the girl has dispatched of the drug dealer, young Arash shows up at the dealer’s house to try and get his car back, which Saeed had taken as payment on a drug debt owed by Arash’s father. Finding Saeed dead, Arash retrieves his car, as well as some cash and a briefcase full of drugs all packed and ready for resale. He is a young man just trying to make ends meet in Bad City, so naturally…accidental drug dealer, and truthfully not a very good one.
Arash, like The Girl, is not only beautiful (like 90% of the cast are gorgeous with the biggest, loveliest eyes ever) but just riveting to watch, the entire cast is equally phenomenal actually, so much so that I kinda wish I could speak Farsi so I could do away with even the minimal distraction of the subtitles and become fully engrossed in this formidable film. Still, my linguistic shortcomings aside, I found myself so captivated by A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, that I did not want it to end, so watched it again…twice. Even though there is a sometimes (please excuse the use of this expression) Tarantino-esque feel to some scenes, there is also such an acute sense of novelty and originality while watching this movie, like experiencing the start of something amazing or witnessing the birth of something perfect and utterly unique; a first of its kind. Adding to the experience, many scenes are infused with beautiful, almost hypnotic Iranian music and possess a surreal, dreamlike quality that makes A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night thoroughly captivating from start to satisfying finish.
If you are anything at all like me, watching A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night will undoubtedly make you wonder why more movies aren’t this good…still I suppose great movies wouldn’t seem so great without the bad ones for comparison, and Girl is without a doubt a fucking great movie. Atmospheric, sometimes bleak, often uplifting and incredibly absorbing, this is one of the best movies of this and every other year. Now having said that, I imagine some horror fans may prefer to skip foreign flicks, dislike of subtitles maybe (I can dig it) or thinly veiled prejudice perhaps (prejudice is akin to ignorance and quite frankly makes you an asshat…yup, I said it), all I have to say to those of you who will skip A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night just because it’s foreign is: your fucking loss my friend, cause this movie kicks ass.
For those looking for a moving, fun and unique viewing experience, Girl is currently streaming on Netflix, so check it out horror fans and lemme know what you thought of this funky flick…and as always, if you like what you read here at A Girl’s Guide to Horror, give a girl some love and click that Like button 😉