Movie Madhouse Film Review: A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night

girl_walks_home_alone_at_night2014 was a great year for vampire movies. Not only did we get Jim Jarmusch’s Only Lovers Left Alive, but Ana Lily Amirpour also released her own interpretation of a vampire tale with  A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night. If you are like me, you have been biting your nails in anticipation for the wide release of this film. If you haven’t yet heard of A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, here are some key elements:

  • Filmed in stunning black and white
  • Language is Persian (so you will have to read)
  • Features a gorgeous stalker vampire who is usually covered by a full chador (a long cloak)

Okay, so maybe that isn’t the best hook, but that shouldn’t detract from any interest in this film. A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night is fantastic.

 This vampire flick is set in a fictional Iranian town, Bad City, which is seedy, dark, and heavily involved in illegal activities, such as drugs and prostitution. There is one highlight to Bad City: The Girl. The Girl, played by Sheila Vand, is the silent, stalking salvation of the city. She is a vampire that corrects the wrongs of men by sinking her fangs into their necks. Amirpour makes The Girl appear as an ethereal being. She is always in the shadows and barely there as if she is just a mirage.

The best scenes in the film are ones where The Girl is set opposite of humans, such as scenes between The Girl and Arash. Amirpour establishes tension between vampire and human in these moments. The girl and Arash may exist in the same world, but they possess contrasting realities. This tension is exhausting and exciting for the viewer. You want the scene to speed up and move to the next, yet you can’t help but revel in the moment.

The cinematography of this film is what stands out the most. Filming in black and white adds to the dreaminess and otherness that Amirpour creates in her story. The shadows appear darker next to the stark white light shining from headlights, lamp posts, and bed-side table lamps. This darkness is where The Girl watches and waits for her next victim.

Amirpour’s film has so many wonderful qualities and I could go on forever about them, but I won’t do that here. Overall, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night is a must-see film. Put aside all notions you have of vampire films and view this as a finely crafted piece of art.

4 ½ out of 5 stars

 

To hear a full review of A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night and other films, you can tune in to the Movie Madhouse Sundays at 5 on 91.9 KSDB.

By: Kari Bingham-Gutierrez

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