"A cocktail of Let the Right One In with drizzles of Nosferatu, sprinkled with essence of Anne Rice novels"Ana Lily Amirpour's A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night reverts back to a much more slick and subtle approach to vampirism. Based on her 2011 short of the same name, this feature is a cocktail of Let the Right One In with drizzles of Nosferatu, sprinkled with essence of Anne Rice novels.
Opening with a stylish, yet bizarre scene introducing us to one of the key characters, Masuka The Cat, we are welcomed into an Iranian underworld - aptly named Bad City. Representing a clear class divide across Iran, the people who reside in this wasteland are nothing but drug addicts, whores and low lives; a kind of Sin City if you will. Given to us in timeless black and white, enhancing the Brando, Dean-esque performance given by first time feature actor Arash Marandi; A Girl Who Walks Home Alone at Night makes for a very enjoyable watch.
As we follow a landscape gardener cum drug dealer, Arash falls in love with a creature of the night. This clash between horror and neo-noir sinks its fangs into something more than the familiar clichéd supernatural approach. The chador, a distinct symbol of female oppression, almost makes this woman appear to be dressing us as a classic representation of Dracula, albeit this only makes her character all the more mysterious. Each character is aimlessly wandering through life, tempted by drugs, alcohol, sex and even food, yet this vampire even controls herself when it comes to blood sucking. Denying her deepest needs until the time is right to assert her female dominance and strike the abnormalities from the world. Whilst our male protagonist is nothing other than adorably human in every sense of the word.
This is pure art house cinema. Every frame of this film is picturesque. The music is dominant in a very Tarantino way that not only reflects this distinct clash of genres but also enhances just how captivating Lyle Vincent’s cinematography is. Despite this being incredibly well shot, the latter half was much more convoluted than it truly needed to be, to the point where some scenes had very little or near to no relevance to the plot. The pace seemingly slows down and steadies as this minimal cast, including the cat, carry this narrative toward its inevitable end. Minimal dialogue lends itself to this wonderful mix of genres whilst Masuka, the wide eyed cat offers much comic relief, inadvertently speaking for the characters through the many awkward silences. Perhaps providing more substance to this art would have decreased the risk of the viewer focusing so much on the feline, rather than the main characters.
Less is more, and Amirpour runs with this creating a subtle horror that reverts back to when fangs and an aura were simply enough for you to catch a scream in your throat. Skateboarding vampires, inquisitive cats and a sweet, sweet romance all play their part in this off-the-wall, wonderfully weird Iranian narrative. A vampire tale like no other.