Thursday, 29 January 2015

Horrors of 2014: A Girl Who Walks Home Alone at Night (2014)

A Girl Who Walks Home Alone at Night (2014)
Director: Ana Lily Amirpour
Starring: Sheila Vand, Arash Marandi, and  Marshall Manesh
Running Time: 99 min

  I'm looking forward to seeing this film for a couple of reasons, one that it's shot in black & white, which has been coming back into style now and even though it is shot in California, all the dialogue is in Persian.  Which I think is pretty cool.  Also, it's tagged as "The first Iranian Vampire Western", so who can't be excited about that.  Hopefully it's so scary, I won't be able to walk home alone at night anymore. (Like I ever would be that anyway)

  In the almost deserted city of Bad City, Arash finds a cat and brings him home to his junkie father, who is having a confrontation with his drug dealer because he owes him money for junk.  Of course the father has no money, so the dealer takes the only thing that Arash owns and loves, his car.
  Pissed that the dealer took his car, that took him 4 years to save up for, Arash tries to find another way to get the money his father owes.  Unfortunately, the only option he sees is to steal a pair of fancy earrings from one of his landscaping clients beautiful daughter, Shaydah.  He swipes them and that evening tries to get the dealer on the phone, so he can get his car back.
  Meanwhile a girl is getting ready to hit the town, she dances around and when the night hits she's ready to go out.  She wanders the street searching for just the right person and tonight, Arash's father's dealer seems to be the perfect choice.  She bumps into him on the street and they go back to his place.  Then when he starts to get friendly, her fangs pop out and she feasts on his blood.  Once she finishes him off, she takes some jewellery and hits the road.
  Shortly after she leaves, Arash wanders into the dealers apartment and finds him dead.  So, Arash takes his money, drugs and drags the dealer into the Bad City dead body pit.  I'm not kidding, there is a pit in that town just for dead bodies, which is kind of gross and awesome at the same time.
  Anyway, Arash quits his landscaping business and becomes a drug dealer full time.  He ends up going to a really posh costume party, dressed as Dracula and runs into his dream girl, Shaydah.  He sells her and her friend some drugs and everything is going fine until, he pops a pill and tries to dance intimately with her.  She pushes him back and her boyfriend starts dancing with her.
  Bummed out and really really high, Arash wanders home but he ends up getting lost.  While staring at a tree, the vampire girl runs into him and they get to talking, well he is jabbering at her.  She brings him home and they end up really liking each other and holding each other all night.  Has Arash and the vampire girl finally found the love that they have been searching for all this time or will this romance turn ugly when they both find out that the other preys on the weak and helpless?

  This is a great love story and has some interesting artistic flare.  This is director Ana Lily Amirpour's first full length film and she totally kills it.  The look of the film is gorgeous and there are some things about it that reminds me of 50's & 60's French New Wave films, like movies from Godard, or Truffaut. Even the choice of music, which is brilliant, is reminiscent of that time period but in an updated Iranian way. It makes sense if you see that film.
  The story is good, it is too lost lonely souls whose paths finally intersect and find each other.  However, long it will last who knows but they have each other now.  The reveal at the end is perfect and I like how naturally the story plays out before the credits start to role.
  This film has some violence, which I'll touch on after, but what is more interesting is that there is some good humour in the film.  At one point, the vampire girl is mimicking Arash's father's movements, in a cartoon type homage that is really funny.  Also I like that the vampire girl travels by skateboard, that made me chuckle every time she rolls up.  It's not a bad thing because this is such a bleak world that Amirpour has created, it is nice that there are some scenes that pull you out of the dread and make you smile.

  As for the violence, there is some but it very moderate.  This is not a blood bath vampire picture.  It is a taut modern gothic love story with some blood sucking.  The story focus on the characters and not so much on a body count or how many gallons of blood is sprayed.  However it is not "Twilight" either, no one sparkles and people die, then get thrown in the town dead body pit.  Which is awesome!
   Also, I can appreciate what Amirpour is aiming for but I think she goes a little too far in the artistic art house flare a bit in one part of the film, when she has a character dance around with a balloon.  I think this is the only scene, where she lost me because there was a person dancing with a balloon and I was like wtf?  However after that short piece of artistic flare, she was able to get back to the story and continued on without any other weird, weirder hiccups.

  This was a fantastic film and enjoyed most of the nuances and strangeness of the piece.  It has a sad, but somewhat uplifting and scary story of two people trying to find love in dying town.  The cinematography is gorgeous and I loved the music as well.  So, if you are looking for a good horror story to rekindle that love of terror, then cuddle up with this film and let the hell fires burn.

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