Starring: Sheila Vand, Arash Marandi, Marshall Manesh
Director: Ana Lily Amirpour
Running Time: 100 mins
A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night is an American film about the small Iranian town of Bad City, where a lonesome vampire walks the streets at night.
This is one of the most visually striking films I’ve ever seen. Its edgy and eerie black-and-white photography is ingeniously used throughout to create a haunting atmosphere, which helps this to often be one of the most unnerving films of recent years. Despite that, its performances and story aren’t so spectacular, and so don’t help in some of the latter stages to keep the film feeling really fresh.
The biggest compliment I can give this film, though, is that it’s masterfully shot. Artistically, it’s beautiful in so many ways. The black-and-white imagery gives the film a very sleek look that goes well together with the presence of the silent but deadly vampire that haunts the streets of Bad City, and is pretty much astonishing to look at from start to finish.
There are so many scenes where there’s absolutely no dialogue, no soundtrack, no nothing, and it’s the visuals that create the power that this film often yields. The black-and-white not only makes a hugely unnerving and eerie atmosphere in every single set-piece, whether it be a horror-type scene or a romance-based one, but it also pulls you in in such a way that I’ve never felt before.
Every scene is just dimly-lit enough and dark enough to give this film a very dream-like atmosphere. The streets are always deserted, and the way that this vampire walks the streets at night is almost so surreal that it can’t be anything but one of those unforgettably terrifying but still quiet dreams. The film’s not necessarily scary in the way a nightmare can be, but making it feel so much more like a dream had a huge effect for me, because it put my mind in the status of letting my imagination run wild with what’s actually going on beneath what we see on screen, which can often be the scariest thing of all.
So, it’s clear that this is a beautifully and ingeniously crafted film, at least visually speaking. In terms of the story, it’s not quite up to that level. It’s definitely very eerie and tense in the opening stages, but its slow pacing means that you lose that tension to a significant degree as the film goes on. Also, although it starts off as an uneasy horror, the film takes a turn into a more romance-based story for the last hour, which just wasn’t as compelling as the beginning had been.
Sure, there are still some astonishing scenes in the second part of the movie (one near three minute-long one-take shot with no dialogue in particular), but you never get a sense of the extremely sharp and edgy thrills that I felt was what made this film so outstanding, at least at first, so that’s why A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night gets a 7.4 from me.