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Fright Fest 2018: A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014)

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Starring: Sheila Vand, Arash Marandi, Mozhan Marno, Marshall Manesh, & Dominic Rains

Written By: Ana Lily Amirpour

Directed By: Ana Lily Amirpour

Synopsis:  In the Iranian ghost-town Bad City, a place that reeks of death and loneliness, the townspeople are unaware that they are being stalked by a lonesome vampire.

Every now and then, a film comes out that manages to fly under the radar a bit. A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night is one of these movies. It made its waves upon its initial release but unfortunately, many people have yet to hear of this one. The film is writer/director Ana Lily Amirpour’s first feature film and it is one hell of a way break out! 

You can tell by watching A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night that the director has a very specific sense of what she wants to evoke. The beautiful thing about A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night is that it can be interpreted in many, many different ways. I won’t go into all of the film’s themes because if you choose to watch it, your interpretation will probably be different than mine or anyone else’s. Yes, the film is a love story, but it also delves into other topics. Nothing is too heavy-handed, which is surprising because this is definitely an art house kind of film. Unfortunately, with these types of films they tend to overstay their welcome. Very rarely does one manage to stay welcome, somehow A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night manages to find the right balance and keep the viewer intrigued and actually wanting to keep watching.  

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The film is completely intoxicating. Everything that the director utilizes is breathtaking. A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night is a collection of so many different genres and filmmaking elements that there truly is something for everyone to find some sort of enjoyment in. However, at the same time the film is not for everyone. This director’s use of black and white filming, lighting, and other technical aspects are what really shines in A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night.  

It is a dark, moody, and subversive film that exists mostly to make you feel. This isn’t a film about story really. It has a story, and it is a great story, but I feel like the director’s goal is to give you more of an experience, make you truly feel rather than to just give you a cohesive story. The beautiful thing about this film is what it conjures up in your own mind. Amirpour harkens back to the gritty feel of spaghetti westerns while having beautiful genre imagery that is extremely reminiscent of Nosferatu or The cabinet of Doctor Caligari.  

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Her use of sound is just as beautiful as any singular image. She lets things happen naturally, taking her time and allowing the suspense to build and to make you feel the power of what she is truly trying to convey.  

I had said before that A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night is not for everyone. However, I think this is a must-see film for cinema lovers and film historians. Genre historians should also look at it for the references that the director makes.  

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A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night is a fresh take on what some would call a very, very drained topic. Vampires, while beloved by genre fans and even pop culture now with books and films like Twilight, True Blood, The Vampire Diaries, etc. have fallen to the wayside. It is difficult to do something with a creature type that is so used up. I never had a desire to watch this film until this review because I was tired of seeing vampires being treated so poorly in our film. Its the same with zombies now, on one hand they are fun to play with but on the other there needs to be something fresh being injected into it.  

The real star of A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night is Amirpour, she found a way to do something different with the subject but at the same time incorporate all of the classic elements that we have grown to love from our favorite vampire films. It is pulpy but incredibly atmospheric.  

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The real reason to seek this film out, is how gorgeous and haunting A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night truly is. I do hope that you give the film a shot but as I have said, it is not for everyone. In all honesty, I will probably never sit down to re-watch this film from beginning to end. I will however put it on in the background while I write or am working on something creative.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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My name is Joshua Macmillan, I am an author of horror and dark fiction. My first publication is a short story within the 13:Night Terrors anthology published by Limitless Publishing! I am currently working on my first novel and plan to have as many short stories published as possible while I work on the novel! I look forward to hearing from you guys! You can find me on Facebook and Twitter, as well as email @ joshmacmillan88@gmail.com.

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