A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night is a visually stunning black-n-white, romantic horror (vampire) film, all in Persian (with English subtitles) set in a fictitious dark and lonely town presumably in Iran called Bad City! Written and directed by Ana Lily Amirpour (her first feature film) with lead Iranian-American actress Sheila Vand, who delivers a great performance. Her co-star is Germany-based Iranian actor Arash Marandi.

Vand plays a lonely and mysterious girl who inches the morbid streets of Bad City in a chador at nights looking for victims and perhaps love. She’s a vampire that seems to have a taste for only the bad people of the town.

There are plenty of shady and interesting characters in the film, most of whom are also played by Iranian artists. But Vand makes the film. Despite her deadly fangs, you feel sorry for her and somehow get to like her. She is the type of girl that you want to fall in love with. As it turns out, Vand is in part the inspiration for this film. Amirpour has in fact written the role for Vand.

sheila-vand-sThough there is no reference to it in the movie Amirpour has created a 187 year timeline for this story. Apparently the girl lived in a village in Iran where she got deathly ill in her 20s, only to be saved by a vampire and thus becoming one herself. Years later, she goes on a killing spree in Iran during the revolution years. Vand talks about this back story in an interview with Salon. I am hoping that Amirpour will make a sequel to this film telling the background story.

You can see influences of David Lynch and Sergio Leone Westerns in this film. However, as critiques have pointed out, Amirpour has made her own mark. This film is no copy. For one I’d never heard of a Persian vampire film. I wonder why!

The film has received many positive reviews. In fact according to this Salon piece, it is one of the top 10 movies of 2014! Indiewire has picked Amirpour and her film as one of the 11 best directorial debuts of 2014. Newsweek notes it as one of its favorite films of 2014. LA Weekly names it in its 10 best films of 2014 as the best debut. Buzzfeed names it the best horror film of 2014This raving review from New Republic goes even farther and calls it possibly the best film of the year!

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night is filmed in San Bernardino, CA. However, Amirpour has made sure that all graffiti, signage and writings in every scene are in Persian. The film has a great soundtrack with a number of alternative and rock Persian songs including one by Mohsen Namjoo. The soundtrack album will be available in February 2015 through Death Waltz Recording Co.

Let us know what you thought of the film. Comments are welcomed.