There are many things that multiple cultures find scary – even if we try to make them sexy and sparkly. With the rise of the internet and Netflix, suddenly we have new ghosts and monsters to haunt us, new movies that allow us to see the fears and actions of cultures outside of our own.
A Persian-language American horror film, “A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night” is the type of vampire movie that deals with vampirism not in the Twilight “twue wuv” but more in the “Let the Right One In” mentality. There is that role-reversal of power, and in this case, the strange and quiet Girl is almost frightening in her otherworldliness and quiet nature. She’s out of place and quiet, assessing the ones she attacks or doesn’t attack with indifference and almost disgust in some cases, or following and copying them in what would be comical in other cases, if not for how unnerving it is. She’s a classic vampire, something terrifying in her power and calm in her manners, but there are hints of her not just being a murderous monster, instead one that has her own reasons and agenda for doing what she does and for ‘hunting’ as she does. She doesn’t take a great deal, but she takes one item from the ones she kills or frightens, almost like a trophy or reminder.
Arash, our protagonist, descends into becoming something worse than he is at the beginning of the movie, though much of his actions feel like the ones of an opportunist over a hunter. He is simply hardened and worried by his own issues and obligations. He has few pleasures, due to said issues, and gives in to pear pressures easily, but he feels oddly innocent in a way, tempted into a world that he realizes is dangerous but wishes to be part of so he can have some control. The Girl’s continued presence, both in the town and running into Arash, is one that makes the viewer almost fear for him, but the Girl’s growing…interest…in him also makes for wonderful moments. Arash, in many things, is not always the best choice-maker, but he is overall a somewhat good person, if shallow.
Also, the soundtrack is pure awesome, my favorite song and scene coming when the Girl takes Arash to her home after he basically has a bad trip. The scene and song, “Death” by White Lies, works well as one that shows the power back and forth, and while we know how dangerous the Girl is, Arash’s interest in her, the TENSION of the scene, and the way it’s filmed and how it resolves is wonderful and, in a lot of ways, helps to establish their care for each other.
“A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night” is a thriller as much as it’s a horror, with quiet moments and tension building up between the moments of actual horror. The quiet and scenery, the wonderful soundtrack, and the main characters wonderful chemistry together make this a wonderful horror/thriller/romance. Some of the quiet moments are very quiet or too weird, but it’s overall a wonderful movie and a great thriller and horror movie, with the added background romance between Arash and the Girl making it worth the watch. The focus on other characters also makes it drag, but at the same time, their inclusion and knowing how they are or more about them add to the reasons Arash will act as he does, or to the tension that rises as the Girl focuses on the others in the movie.