A Girls Walks Home Alone at Night Review: Let Her In

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Would you believe me if I said there was a film out there that felt like a hybrid of Breaking Bad and Let the Right One In?

That’s A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night. This Iranian New Wave gem does a lot with a little, becoming something that feels fully realized and mostly original.

The film takes place in the fictional Iranian town Bad City, where drug dealers scam old men and force women into the backseat of their cars. We meet Arash (Arash Marandi), a lonely young man just trying to take care of his drug-addict father. His father’s dealer steals his car, but just as he plans to get revenge, a young woman walks out of the the dealer’s house, her mouth stained with blood.

We’re never given a name for the vampire lurking the streets at night, played by Sheila Vand, who gives the character a dark loneliness that makes her both sympathetic and terrifying. But this isn’t just a horror film. Director Ana Lily Amirpour lends the film a black sense of humor and the perfect size heart. There’s something magnetic about the eventual romance between Arash and the vampire, yet it also feels inhuman. Sometimes you’re scared, sometimes you’re laughing, sometimes you’re smiling at their romance, but there’s a constant uneasiness to it all that makes the film feel utterly unique.

As an American that is used to having plot point after plot point shoved down my throat, this story does sometimes unfold at a snail’s pace. But never to the detriment of the overall picture.

But for all the originality A Girl Walks Home at Night achieves in its genre-bending, it does lose some points for an ending that has a few too many story beats similar to the aforementioned Swedish vampire classic Let the Right One In. There are differences of course, but the overall arcs end up being pretty much the same. It does unfortunately cause this film to end on a “been there, done that” note. But to fault the entire piece would be a disservice to all the hands that came together to make this little vampire movie really work. It’s creepy, funny, and often quite beautiful. Grade: B+

By Matt Dougherty

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