A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night
Ana Lily Amirpour’s feature-length debut A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night is in the indie-horror canon of late, where subtlety, atmosphere and cinephilia reign. Dubbed an Iranian vampire Western, this film tells the story of vampire The Girl (Shelia Vand) who stalks the seedy underworld of Bad City, and forges an unlikely bond with Arash (Arashi Marandi).
This film is reminiscent of early Jim Jarmusch; its greatest strength lies in its unspecified time and locale, which frees the film to foreground the fantastical elements. This is found not only in the vampire character but also in the setting, the characters and its soundtrack. Bad City is a wholly fictional town set in Iran, yet shot in California. The characters have names like The Pimp and The Junkie, a cinematic device that dates back to the silent era. Its soundtrack is of the same ilk as Tarantino and Scorsese with its blend of popular music and atmospheric soundscapes. To further dissipate any notion of realism, the film is laden with pop culture references – notably the Pac-Man tattoo on The Pimp. In short, it is a meta-cinematic experience for cinephiles.
Amirpour’s minimalist approach also benefits the film’s tone. The tonal shifts sway significantly, so one scene can be dramatic, while the next could be horrifying or wryly comedic. Every scene, laden with uncertainty, maintains the audience’s engagement. Amirpour’s confident direction is complemented by her strong screenplay; the minimal dialogue puts the visual aesthetics of cinema first, allowing each scenic composition to be in equal parts striking and interesting.
Fans of horror, art and indie cinema will greatly appreciate this unique genre experience. Amirpour’s debut highlights her strength as a cinephilic filmmaker who knows how to fuse various genre tropes to create a singular vision. This vampiric, noir, Western thriller will have film fans gushing at its economic use of cast, location and camera work.
A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night is released nationwide on 22nd May 2015.
Watch the trailer for A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night here: