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A GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE AT NIGHT (review)

Review by Guy Benoit
Produced by Sina Sayyah, 
Justin Begnaud, Elijah Wood
Written and Directed by Ana Lily Amirpour
Starring Sheila Vand, Arash Marandi, 
Marshall Manesh, Dominic Rains

It’s perverse that Jim Jarmusch would so recently produce Only Lovers Left Alive, his vampire flick, simply because A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night seems to answer the question, “Imagine if Jim Jarmusch directed a vampire flick?”

While Ana Lily Amirpour’s wonderful A Girl Walks Home At Night takes some obvious stylistic notes from Strangers In Paradise and Down By Law, it’s a powerful and original work.

Examining the relationship between a sad sack n’er do well who lives in Bad City, Iran, and a gliding vampire woman who feeds primarily on the men of that same city, it’s moody, elegant and, unlike Jarmusch’s cranky rumination, authentically frightening.

Sheila Vand, who plays the vampire, is a wildly talented physical actress. Watching her mirror the movements of her potential victims brings to mind an unholy combination of Max Schreck and mirror-routine Harpo Marx. She is the bloody heart and non-soul of this bizarre piece, and her deadpan malice succeeds at every turn.

Arash Marnadi, portraying an easily-distracted drug dealer, is an effective counterpoint to Vand’s consistent slow burn. Wonderful acting all around.

If A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night, Only Lovers Left Alive and What We Do In The Shadows are any indication, a new breed of vampire has been disinterred: idiosyncratic, proudly foreign and possessed of a specific internal logic. Don’t forget to look over your shoulder when walking home from the art house.

Finally, the film contains a really funny homage to Repo Man.

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