A Feminist Love Story and Horror All Mixed Together

The Review of “A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night”

By Victoria Priola

The Ana Lily Amirpour film “A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night” has gotten attention from the New York Times and was listed as one of the Top 11 Indie Films to see this year by for all the right reasons.

A young man named Arash (Arash Marandi) and his vampire girlfriend, who remains nameless throughout the whole film, has a hobby of killing rapists in her spare time (Sheila Vand).

“Girl” takes place in Bad City, Iran. The story revolves around Arash and his life living with his drug addict father, the memories of his mother who had passed away, and his cat. While the issue of money looms, Arash is the sole provider for their family of three.

Viewers grow emotionally attached to Arash as he takes care of his drunkenly angry father by feeding him when he goes through drug withdrawals.

The night the girl and Arash met for the first time was right after she killed his father’s drug dealer because she had seen him taking advantage of a woman (Atti).

Atti also had a history of having sex with Arash’s dad for money in the past. Confused yet?

When the girl first saw him she could have easily bit and killed him too but she didn’t. Arash could have run home and never went back there again but he didn’t–he took all the drug dealer’s money first and then ran.

The second time they met was while Arash was in a drug induced haze after a party and she was walking down the same abandoned road as him. She didn’t speak very much during the film but they communicated through looks. They had gone back to her place, again missing a perfect chance to kill him.

As he stole for her and as she killed for him, they somehow fell in love. At the end of the film, the girl kills Arash’s father because he drugged up Atti.

The girl had adopted the cat that seemed to follow Arash’s father. When he found his father dead and that night saw the cat at the girl’s apartment, he knew she had killed him. He accepted that and they drove off and went on to live a life of sin together.

“Girl” has all the conventions of horror films mixed with feminism and a twisted rendition of modern day love story. The movie was filmed in all black and white and with a lot of deep focus shots.

The lighting on the girl changed from angelic when she wasn’t feeding too harsh when she was about to kill. From beginning to end, viewers were on the edge of their seats.

The mise-en-scene throughout the film really brought the plot home for viewer, without a need to read the sub-titles. The shots filmed in the girl’s room show posters wall to wall covered in posters and pictures–not one bare spot. The mise-en-scene shows that she has a lot of emotional clutter in her life.

She expresses throughout the film that she has killed many times and she’s a “bad person.” In Arash’s apartment he has nothing, not even a bed. His walls are bare and only pictures of his mother and father remain.

This, from a viewer’s perspective, shows that he has a lack of love for everything. He keeps his walls bare to isolate himself from his life. Once his father destroyed all Arash’s photos in a rage from withdrawal, he finally decided to leave.

It is visually one of the prettiest films I’ve seen in years. It’s one of the few horror movies where the woman, who’s the killer, lasts through the entire hour and forty seven minutes. I would give “Girl” the same rating it received from RottenTomatos, 9.5 out of 10.


1 reply »

  1. Thank you for reviewing this exotic movie. I had read quite some articles about it, and I am looking forward to watch it.
    The Iranian cinema has brought up some very good movies and has won various international awards. Also there is a huge amount of women directors in Iran’s cinema.
    Here is a collection of posts on Iranian cinema that also might be interesting for you:

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