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John’s Horror Corner: A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014), far from anything resembling horror, this boring art-house Iranian film features a skateboarding hipster vampire.

May 8, 2015

Far from anything resembling horror, this boring art-house Iranian film features a skateboarding hipster vampire.  Amazon boasts numerous positive reviews, but horror fans should beware.  MORE MOVIES LIKE THIS:  Film noir, I guess.  Pretty much stuff that film students love and I hate.

Knowing that we are in for an Iranian vampire story, this black and white art-house endeavor opens in a manner which immediately strays from our expectations.  From his snug white t-shirt to his hair, our protagonist smacks of a young Middle Eastern Marlon Brando, like a 50s greaser who at any moment may break into a dance number snapping his fingers and chanting some West Side Story Jets/Sharks theme or scream “Stellllllllllla.”  Further Americanizing this film the sets, wardrobe and neighborhood could just as easily, or even more easily so, have been set in suburban Ohio rather than Iran.  (It was actually filmed in California, by the way.)


But, oh yeah, this movie is also about a vampire.  A vampire who only preys upon bad people—and who ensures that notion is well understood to the audience through over-exposition more deafeningly than a nearby jackhammer.  For just a moment this reminded me of Innocent Blood (1992) in premise alone.  Our most contemporary vampire (a young woman) listens to American LPs demonstrating to her audience two things: 1) hipsters in Iran are just as annoying as they are here, and 2) the score was the most (or only) brilliant part of this film.  However, whatever the artistic intent behind her music and dancing and wardrobe and other Americanized themes, I failed to find any other brilliance here.  Also on the “neat” side, the opening scene includes a cat which is later utilized as a device, like a judgmental observer of the truth behind the protagonist’s father’s addiction and paranoia.  But this didn’t really lead anywhere special either.


Although I must acknowledge that the black and white helps the film by masking racial and cultural differences by obscuring skin and clothing color.  But other than witnessing a sympathetic relationship between a young 50s style man and a young hipsterish vampire, I got nothing out of this.  I was excited to see this film, yet it was boring since the opening scene.

Was this art?  No—but I’m sure many will disagree.  Was it artistic?  VERY.  Using a skateboard as something of a symbol for the discovery of compassion was artistic, maybe a little “neat,” but ultimately fell shy of making any impact on me (or my girlfriend).  I imagine I’ll get some flack from “film fans” out there complaining that this is not a horror movie and shouldn’t be assessed as one.  But guess what?  This is JOHN’S HORROR CORNER and I’ll warn my readers as I see fit. LOL.  Besides, I doubt anyone who would like this film reads my articles and, furthermore, I didn’t enjoy this as a non-horror film either.  I didn’t enjoy it, in any form, at all.


Yup.  That’s a skateboard in the bottom left.

In my eyes, writer/director Ana Lily Amirpour proves that she can make artsy films.  She clearly wasn’t trying to make anything resembling horror—or so, I hope she wasn’t trying to—so horror fans should probably steer clear of this film much as I wish I had.  I’m sure many will see greatness in this; but I also think those will be people who are disgusted by studio blockbusters, gore or mainstream comedies.

Somewhere in this story I think there was a plot, but I felt more like I sat through a series of scenes that simply “seemed to be linked.”  A guy owes a drug dealer (who got the protagonist’s father hooked on drugs), he meets a friendly vampire who takes a shining to him, she helps him with his drug dealer problem, they find a mutual affection.


If you are a lovelorn film student, this may be for you. If you are a horror fan: RUN.  Run far away and fast in the opposite direction.  Amazon is producing a wealth of positive reviews, none of them praising any component of actual horror.  Such praising reviews consider the film “a tale of love and loneliness set in a fictional Iranian town”; “a vampire romance”; and “a visual metamorphosis of the characters as they both make life-altering decisions, without any dialogue required.”

Horror fans, don’t be fooled by these positive reviews.  To use a line closer to horror: “It’s a trick. Get an axe.”

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