The fact that writer-director Ana Lily Armipour’s genre-hopping A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night (2014) ranks so highly in ITOL’s top 50 films by women of the decade list is a testament to its originality, cult appeal, and fang-sharp social commentary. Billed as an Iranian Vampire Western, and set in the fictional Bad City, it nods to a myriad of influences from classic horror and film noir, to Tarantino, comic books and David Lynch- clanking industrial images and sounds loom large and fever-dream music-sequences are woven throughout.
One would think that vampires are a trope in horror that has been beaten to death with a clove of garlic. However, Ana Lily Amirpour's "A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night" not only breathes live into this overdone trope but also gives the classic monster a feminist twist that is both innovative and empowering. Style-wise, the film filled to the brim with moody, cinematography which contributes greatly to the dark, tense vibe that consumes the narrative in a "Sin-City" (2005) meets "Cat People" (1942) vibe. Described as the 'first Iranian Vampire Western', the film (written and directed by Amirpour) follows a lonely vampire that roams Bad City, a crime-filled ghost town whose residences are unaware that a bloodthirsty beast lives among them. However, the vampire known only as 'The Girl' (Sheila Vand) is certainly not the only monster that lurks in the shadows.
It seems a universal question in cinema: how does a director follow-up a hit debut? In the case of Ana Lily Amirpour, it is the beguiling, fascinating, frustrating “The Bad Batch” (2016). Having gained near-universal critical praise with her previous feature, the black-and-white Iran-set vampire drama “A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night” (2014), Amirpour takes the opportunity to sprawl out and tell a distinctly different tale.