A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night is a slow burn. Nothing crazy happens, you don’t end up shocked or terrified. It just feels a little uncomfortable throughout. Ana Lily Amirpour directs with a chill hipster vibe that leads to a slow methodical take on vampirism.
The film takes place in fictional, Bad City, Iran. It’s hard to classify the film as Iranian cinema with it being shot in California. But, hey there’s no way this film would have been made in Iran. It has a good feel to it though, the layperson would never know it wasn’t shot there. Being shot in black and white gives it a dark and haunting feel, as a good vampire flick should. There’s also some cool shots involving a skateboard, and the burka doubling as a vampire cape looks pretty rad as well.
Sheila Vand steals the show as The Girl. She plays the hauntingly quiet vampire. Mostly vampires lean towards evil on the supernatural spectrum, since they typically bring about death and destruction. Throughout the film she fulfills her need to feed not by going on a killing spree or rampage, but by taking out the people who make Bad City bad to begin with. A vampire with good intentions, if you will.
The film also follows Arash, played by Arash Mandi. He’s got a drug addicted father who is in deep with the wrong people.Arash is just a hard working Iranian, who worked over 6 years to buy a nice car and just wants to live his life and not get into too much trouble. The film really centers around the intertwining moments between Arash and The Girl to the point it becomes a bit romantic. Is it romance, or is a vampire trope in disguise?
Arash becomes infatuated with The Girl.. This is the real ambiguity of the film. Are they falling for each other, or is she using him as a means to an end? There’s a few instances where it goes back and forth on the point and leaves it open ended by the end, allowing the viewer to decide what is really going on. Ambiguous endings are usually what make or break films, and this one lands fairly well.
It’s not going to be heralded as a cinematic masterpiece or be a genre defining film. It’s simply a new and interesting take on a horror genre that feels tired in most cases. Using a non-Western setting and ideology in the film also breathes new life into vampirism as well. If you’ve got a couple of hours to kill I’d recommend giving it a shot. It’s not a non-stop fright fest, but it does have its moments. It’s made me excited for whatever else Amirpour has up her sleeve, which is apparently a bigger budget tale of Texas cannibals titled, The Bad Batch.