Year of Release: 2014
Director: Ana Lily Amirpour
Screenplay: Ana Lily Amirpour
Starring: Sheila Vand, Arash Marandi, Mozhan Marno, Marshall Manesh, Dominic Rains
Running Time: 101 minutes
Genre: Horror, drama
In a bleak Iranian city, Arash (Marandi) works hard to take care of his heroin-addicted father (Manesh), and trying to survive the daily grind of crime and misery that surrounds him. However, the local drug dealers and pimps are being stalked by a mysterious woman (Vand), who is, in fact, a vampire.
The vampire film genre often seems to have been played out, however there are occasional films such as this one that show there is still life in it yet. A kind of neo-noir, vampire Western, this is an Iranian language film, that is set in Iran, although it is an American film and was shot in California. It looks gorgeous, filmed in crisp monochrome. Writer/director Ana Lily Amirpour described the film as "the lovechild of Sergio Leone and David Lynch, babysat by Nosferatu", and it certainly has a very Lynchian flavour to it. The film hasn't much of a plot, it's more about atmosphere, and it does have a strange dreamlike quality, which makes it more haunting than frightening. It's one of those films where whatever time of the day you watch it, it feels like three in the morning. Swathed in a black chador, Sheila Vand is great as the unnamed, enigmatic vampire, both terrifying and alluring at the same time, she has a real otherworldly quality. There is a strong feminist theme, the vampire usually preying upon men she witnesses abusing or disrespecting women. The events take place against the backdrop of a gritty backdrop of drugs and crime, where vampires are probably far from the worst thing out there.