By Jerome Reuter
Much like zombies, the vampire has reached the age of gentrification. Thanks a lot, Twilight. However, a recent release that gives a new face to this chapter of gothic horror. A Girl That Walks Home Alone (2014) completely breaks the mold. There’s no other way to really describe it, this film is a game changer. Successfully combining elements of film noir, experimental film, and being nothing short of complete perfection.
The film is set in a fictional locale, known as ‘Bad City’ in Iran. It’s a cold town, a mix between suburbia, and the urban blight depicted in Eraserhead. The people we encounter are the very dregs of society–a heroin addict, a pimp, a prostitute, a loner, and drug-addicted teenagers. The film weaves its way through several subplots, each focusing on a different character. Speaking of Eraserhead, this film manages to capture the atmosphere of David Lynch’s magnum opus. With its stark black and white color, ambient noise that emanates from industrial machinery, you’d swear you were watching a Lynch film. There also exists a brooding feeling that one might get from a classic film noir piece, which has been a missing element in cinema for far to long.
Aside from that, there is quite an obvious influence from Maya Daren. You might not know her name, or be familiar with her works, but you’ve seen the influence. Daren is the godmother of experimental film. Her editing techniques are present in so many works, from The Seventh Seal to North By Northwest. Several sequences from this film have her trademark close up shots, with absolutely no dialogue, or sound. This allows the audience to be caught up in the moment.
Aside from its brilliant cinematography, atmosphere, and camerawork, this film has something else that sets it aside from the others. What might it be, you ask? The vampire of the story itself. Strangely enough, it isn’t the main focal point of the story, just one of the several subplots involved. Known simply as ‘the girl,’ she doesn’t serve as cold blooded killer, but more of a harbinger of justice. Taking the lives of the dregs, that cause nothing but suffering to the lives of others. Walking the streets of Bad City, cloaked in a black veil, she is death personified. However, only to those who have brought it upon themselves.
This film is a fresh face to an old genre. It also happens to be one of the best ones you’ll see in recent years.