A Girl Walks Home at Night is going to get inevitable comparisons to Let the Right One In, because it is foreign, has vampires, a girl, and seems to be quite a good movie. In the world of thinking about movies, that’s a four point match, which is admissible in the court of gross generalization and so the two end up smoothly categorized regardless of whether they have anything else in common.
This new one is Iranian, not Swedish. Which is a relatively big distinction unless you categorize the world into America and not-America, two equally sized chunks on the map. Here’s the trailer, it’s black and white and creepy, just the way horror movies are supposed to be:
And here’s the obligatory plot summary:
Strange things are afoot in Bad City. The Iranian ghost town, home to prostitutes, junkies, pimps and other sordid souls, is a bastion of depravity and hopelessness where a lonely vampire stalks its most unsavory inhabitants. Cinema’s first Iranian vampire western, Ana Lily Amirpour’s debut feature basks in the sheer pleasure of pulp. A joyful mash-up of genre, archetype, and iconography, its prolific influences span spaghetti westerns, graphic novels, horror films, and the Iranian New Wave. Amped by a mix of Iranian rock, techno, and Morricone-inspired riffs, its airy, anamorphic, black-and-white aesthetic and artfully drawn-out scenes combine the simmering tension of Sergio Leone with the weird surrealism of David Lynch.
The reviews are quite good so far, though they’re a mixed bag from a certain point of neurosis. See, so many of them are effusive in that particular way that puts me off a movie. Drew Taylor of Indiewire: “Watching A Girl Walks Home At Night, you get the impression that you’re witnessing something iconic and important unfold before you.” Boyd van Hoeij of THR: “This moody and gorgeous film is finally more about atmosphere and emotions than narrative.”
Call me contrarian, but there’s this particular vein of praise that when tapped just gives me a hematoma inside of a high. I think it derives from this pomposity we all end up exposed to at some point in bad literature or art classes in which “this is brilliant” slowly transforms into a defensive “so if you don’t see why it’s brilliant, you’re probably just dim”. I evolved a streak of contrarianism where being told something is good in this way triggers a response of “well, I know damn well how smart I am, and so me not liking this means you’re calling me stupid, so let’s rumble”.
I can’t imagine why my teachers in junior high loathed me.