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Film Review: “A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night” (2014)


For somebody death is an unfortunate reality; for another person – a beginning of a new life. And in the middle of the two stands the one, who decides whether the life will end or not. That is quite interesting to watch. Here is a piece of advice for everyone (especially for men) – never talk to a stranger, especially if they wear black in the dark of night, because if you walk home alone, they will stalk you with only one purpose – to drink your blood. Now, welcome to the world of “A Girl Who Walks Home Alone at Night”, in which there is no to escape, except to give her all your blood.

Films do not often feature vampires, who have compassion for a child. But in this very odd, black and white retro style Iranian blood-drinker story we see a vampire that stalks and kills only those, who according to her, did not behave well. Not that she tries to educate them before killing… Though, she does so once, which earns the sympathy of the viewer for her. However, this is the only time when we see such an unusual behavior from this vampire.

Everything begins when violent and ignorant local gangster Saeed comes to a young man named Arash to claim the money his father owes. Arash has nothing to offer him, except for his fancy car, which is immediately taken. Saeed doesn’t get much time to enjoy this old style car, because The Girl that is walking home alone at night meets him and makes him her new target and victim. Oblivious to her plans, Saeed invites this attractive lady to his well-decorated house.

This well-made and rare Iranian horror becomes even more interesting when Arash gets involved with all the nightmares that The Girl has to offer. Here the film gets an unexpected twist. Those of you, who enjoy a vampire stories, will surely appreciate it, as “A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night” is the right film for you.  The film is written and directed by Ana Lily Amirpour. This is her debut feature film, where she takes a very courageous step forward to include scenes that would not be appreciated in her native country. And to me, this is what I would call “real filmmaking”, when the director creates a world, in spite of all the prejudice that a particular society might bring.

Amirpour cast very talented actors for her film. I would particularly mention Mozhan Marnò, whose films are always a delight to watch. Her role as Atti is not as big as I would have expected, given her screen time, but it is still enough to once again be amazed by her brave performance.  Sheila Vand, who plays The Girl, delivers a convincing performance and shows us that Iranian cinema is strong enough to go as far as to produce a watchable, although not Hollywood style, but still interesting and creepy horror film.

“A Girl Walks Alone At Night” is an absolute joy to watch. It is stylish and uniquely refreshing. If it happens that you live in the wicked city – like the one in the film, you’d better turn around and make your way back to one of Toronto’s theaters, where you can watch this soft horror in a quiet and relaxed atmosphere; where you don’t have to worry about a girl that walks the lonely streets to hunt you down for not watching this film. Saying that, this film is playing in Toronto, and you can watch it in the following theatres: TIFF Bell Light Box – from Jan 23 to Feb 12; the Carlton – opens on Feb 6th; The Royal – opens on Feb 13.


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