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DVD Review

DVD cover

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night


Starring: Shelia Vand, Arash Marandi and Mozhan Marnò
Distributor: StudioCanal
RRP: £17.99
Certificate: 18
Release Date: 27 July 2015

Arash is a young man who lives with his sick father. But his father suffers not from a normal physical ailment but from dependency on hard drugs. When Arash falls foul of the local pimp and drug dealer and goes to confront him, he meets a mysterious young woman. When leaving a party, more than a little worse-for-wear, he meets her again. She seems to be aimlessly roaming the streets at night. There is a connection that builds between them, but the young woman is not what she seems...

This is not the kind of film you would normally expect to emerge from Iran. Perhaps I’m stereotyping. Either way, it’s always refreshing to experience a horror film from another culture, as it often puts a new slant on a tired premise, and the setting is not one we’ve seen a thousand times before. I always think that if the promotional blurb has to cover itself in so many rave reviews that there is little room for anything else, then the media company is not confident enough in its product to allow the film to speak for itself. You would think this was the ‘second coming’ of vampire films. It’s not. I will accept that it’s better than I expected. However, it’s pretty much a Western culture scenario with a non-Western setting. There’s a drug-dealing pimp, a prostitute, and a young man trying to be a clean-cut James Dean but failing miserably.

It is filmed in black and white almost certainly in an attempt to give it a film noir feel. It was probably a smart move, because it’s the only thing that offers the film any mood or style. It is however, somewhat destroyed by the humorous image of a young woman vampire skateboarding down the road at night. The obvious connection anybody in-the-know is going to make is with Let The Right One In. These characters are adults rather than children, but the relationship is almost exactly the same. Be under no allusions that this movie is of the same quality – it’s not even close. I’m not certain it is meant as a conscious move, but there is a cat which acts as a cipher for everything that goes wrong. Arash finds it and takes it home, and during the course of the film possession moves to his father, on to a prostitute and then to the girl vampire, like a Jonah or Biblical harbinger of doom. The cat is the best actor; I bet it had its own trailer, too.

Extras include: Deleted Scenes; Behind the Scenes Documentary; VICE Meets director Ana Lily Amirpour and actress Sheila Vand. The Blu-ray edition also has a Graphic Novel.


Ty Power

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