The Story: A teenager from the wrong side of the tracks unknowingly falls in love with a vampire.
Expectations: “The first Iranian vampire Western”? I’m in.
Reaction: It’s interesting that I wrote about a movie yesterday that reminded me of THE PROPHECY, because this one reminds me of another little-known 1990s horror movie featuring Christopher Walken: Abel Ferrara’s THE ADDICTION. Both films are about young female vampires; both are presented in high-contrast black and white. Ferrara’s film is more philosophical, but I have a feeling that these films appeal to the same audience—horror fans who want something a little more subtle, a little more arty than the usual genre film.
If I’m being honest, this one was a little too subtle for me at times. Watching it alone in the dark, the moody cinematography and minimal sound design definitely casts a spell… but I wasn’t particularly invested in the film at first. Not until the two main characters met and fell in love. Once Sheila Vand and Arash Marandi are onscreen together, the film is genuinely captivating. Their outsiders-in-love story, simple as it is, was as poignant to me as LET THE RIGHT ONE IN.
And while I’m throwing around allusions to other vampire movies, I should add that it also reminded me of George Romero’s MARTIN. Romero's film was set in a suburb of Pittsburgh in the late 1970s, when America’s Steel Belt was turning into the Rust Belt, and hope itself seemed to be in decay. A GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE AT NIGHT is set in a fictional barrio called “Bad City.” Everyone there speaks Persian, but the landscape is actually the ghostly desert environs of Kern County, California (at least, according to IMDB). The place has a cold, forbidding, industrial (dare I say Lynchian?) aesthetic, and most of the locals seem to exist in a drug-induced haze devoid of genuine human connection. It's the perfect backdrop for a twisted love story.
The through-line is sadness and yearning, rather than horror--but I tend to think that a horror film without a touch of sadness isn’t really much of a horror film.
Most Nightmare-Worthy Moment: On a purely visceral level, the ear-piercing scene was the most affecting. Also, the most intimate.