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The Next Reel • A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night • 2014, directed by Ana Lily Amirpour, 2nd in the Horror Debuts series

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night

"Are you a good boy?”

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night is a unique take on the vampire mythos.

Ana Lily Amirpour had written a dozen screenplays but wasn’t getting any traction with getting them made. That’s when she had the idea for her Iranian vampire story. The script came easily and was something she could make in the small town of Taft CA on an ultra-low budget. Watching the film, though, Amirpour clearly had a vision and was able to bring it to screen. The film is hypnotic, dark, full of mood, and surprisingly romantic. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we continue our Horror Debuts series with Amirpour’s 2014 film A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night.

They don’t say much in Amirpour’s film, but we have a lot to say about it.

It’s an interesting film in its simplicity and pacing. Combing through reviews, it seems a good number of people find issue in the slow pace and long takes. Even Pete initially reacted this way. But this film has a way of sticking with you. Both of us found the film to be one that lingers, and in the end, we both ended up big fans of Amirpour’s vampire story. Is it the fact that it’s horror-lite? Or perhaps that we connected with the romance, which Amirpour herself talks about as being like in a John Hughes film? Regardless, it’s a bit hypnotic spending time in this film and one we’d return to readily.

The black-and-white cinematography by Lyle Vincent paired with Amirpour’s story as well as the soundtrack fully immerse us in this town of Bad City. It helps that Sheila Vand plays such a compelling vampire, stalking the streets in her chador and on her skateboard. And we’re intrigued by the larger messages Amirpour puts forth in the film, even if she’s not overtly trying to make comments on these things.

Things like the oppression of women in Iran and other Middle Eastern countries. Addiction. Social isolation. Depression. Social status. Even the way we drain the land of its oil like vampires on the Earth is emphasized over and over again with the shots of the oil pumpjacks moving up and down. But it’s not a message movie. Amirpour includes those elements as themes to look at and think about, but we think she’s really focused on the love story and these two lost souls trying to find a connection in a dark town.

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night is really a love story.

That connection between Arash, played by Arash Marandi, and Vand’s vampire (called simply The Girl) is the beating heart in this dark, cold movie. The scenes the two of them have together – at the street light, in her place, and at the power plant – create strong moments that are some of the more unforgettable moments in cinema.

We found a strong connection to this film. It’s one we’ll likely jump back into sooner rather than later to reconnect with Arash and The Girl. We have a great conversation about Amirpour’s film A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night. Check it out and tune in to this week’s show. The Next Reel – when the movie ends, our conversation begins!

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