The first thing I thought of when I heard of A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night, directed by the Iranian Ana Lily Amirpour, and starring Sheila Vand and Arash Marandi, was how similar it sounded to the core idea behind Buffy (as embodied in that show’s very first scene, when the seemingly-vulnerable schoolgirl turns out to be the predator).

In some ways, I was validated in that belief upon finally getting the chance to watch the movie. A Girl Walks Home focuses on turning the tables in power between the “typical” victim in horror – a pretty young girl – and the men who prey on them. The eponymous girl, a vampire, is at once monstrous and vulnerable. She’s hungry, clearly, but she also loves rock music and, most significantly, can’t help but empathize with others. This is clearly embodied in her costume: she wears a menacing black cape, but underneath, she’s just a fashionable, hipstery girl. So she gauges potential victims, judging their moral character first. If they don’t pass, she drinks their blood. In one scene, she threatens a young boy. Don’t be bad, she tells him. I’ll be watching you.

a girl walks home alone at night

A Girl Walks Home also shares Buffy’s adept mixture of genre and tone. The scenes where she stalks people in the street are at once creepy and amusing. In one scene, she mirrors the actions of her target. It’s spooky as hell, at least from his perspective, but for the viewer it’s absolutely hilarious. Is this an homage to that iconic scene from the Marx Brothers’ Duck Soup? Probably.

And then, the secret about this movie is that, while it mixes Western and horror elements and aesthetics, it really has the structure of a love story. Given the aforementioned comic elements, it’s even tempting to say it’s a rom-com.

Thematically, though, it’s a lot more complex than any rom-com. It’s about morality, and human nature, and hope.

While I absolutely loved this dark-yet-strangely-sweet movie, it might not appeal to everyone. Though the individual scenes are entertaining enough on their own, the pacing is admittedly slow. There’s not much actual plot happening, and the main characters sometimes seem mute. They’re not, though: silence is just a feature of the world they live in. Which is not to say these things are drawbacks per se – just that they might not be your cup of tea.

Review: 'A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night'
Pros
  • Great mix of genres
  • Surprisingly funny and touching
  • Moody and atmospheric in the best way
Cons
  • Slow-pacing and arthouse tropes won't appeal to everyone
9.2Overall Score
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About The Author

I saw 'Mars Attacks!' in theaters when I was five. I still think it's the greatest horror movie for five year olds ever made.