May 29, 2015 A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (Movie Review)
The Middle East is too often associated with turmoil and war, all other achievements seem to pale in comparison. There is a burgeoning film industry just waiting to be discovered though. Latest Horror film to be released by SpectreVision and Logan Pictures, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, is one such film. Written and directed by Ana Lily Amirpour (I Feel Stupid 2012, A Little Suicide 2012), A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night was released on April 20th, 2015 on DVD/Blu-ray in the United States to rave reviews. Using an observational point of view, it is set in a modern day small Iranian town aptly called Bad City. Interestingly enough, it was filmed in Taft California, in the United States, a site that has been used for many films such as Best Laid Plans (1999) and The Cell (2000).
The once, long ago, prospering town, Bad City is now a shadow if its former self, rife with drugs, prostitution, and other moral crimes. Arash (Arash Marandi: GroBstadtrevier 2013, Twilight Storytellers: Sunrise 2015) makes a meager living repairing televisions, and his father Hossein (Marshall Manesh: True Lies 1994, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End 2007), who is a drug addict, lives with him. Despite his father’s selfish nature, good intentioned Arash is determined to take care of him. After his father’s dealer (Dominic Rains: Still Here 2014, Funeral Day 2015) comes looking for money, Arash is pushed to desperate measures in order to pay off the debt. As collateral, the dealer takes Arash’s beloved car. During the day, Bad City is a lonely empty place, at night time, Bad City is transformed to simply wicked. All manner of creatures roam the night, including one mysterious girl who meets up with the dealer. After a short interaction between the dealer and the girl, the dealer ends up dead.
This offers a change of fortune when Arash arrives to pay off his father’s debt, including the return of his car. With his car, some cash, and some drugs, Arash starts altering his life and uses this time to ensure his father withdraws from drugs. Each day, Arash uses his windfall as such to begin to live and experience life. Each night, the mysterious girl walks the streets, preying on the vicious and unkind, often riding a skate board. Arash and the girl are unaware of each other’s existence until Arash attends a party dressed as Dracula on Halloween. Arash has a wonderful time and takes his first drug at the insistence of a pretty girl. After the party, he manages to get lost on his way home, which is when he runs into the girl. They immediately form a bond, and a tender moment is shared between them. From the time they meet, their lives spiral towards their joined fate. Scene by scene, a new awakening sweeps over the town, a glimmer of hope from an unexpected source.
A tightly woven story complemented by great special effects, A Girl Walking Home Alone at Night still ensures it has plenty of blood and gore. It is well acted by a diverse cast, with little more than body language to convey a number of scenes. The storyline is intriguing, and has an intensity that easily pulls the viewer into the characters’ world. In the tradition of films such as Let the Right One In (2008 ), this flick offers a unique perspective into life in another country. There is a definitive underlying theme of positive female empowerment, which pleasantly changes things up from the usual perspective of the Middle East, where women are oppressed and subservient. Well-acted, gritty, intense, dark, not action packed, but a slow creeping scare that works its way into the viewer’s’ subconscious. The Vampire girl is not a mindless killer, and has much more to her than meets the eye. A dark humor is scattered throughout, which helps break up the bleak atmosphere Cinematographer Lyle Vincent (Devoured 2012, Cooties 2014) so brilliantly captured. With an open ending, on a deeper level A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night is a romance, with often a glimmer of hope in otherwise pitiful lives. A must watch for all viewers looking for more in their Horror films, CrypticRock gives A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night 5 out of 5 stars.