Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.
USA, 2014. Say Ahh Productions, SpectreVision, Logan Pictures, Black Light District. Screenplay by Ana Lily Amirpour. Cinematography by Lyle Vincent. Produced by Justin Begnaud, Sina Sayyah. Music by Bei Ru. Production Design by Sergio De La Vega. Costume Design by Natalie O’Brien. Film Editing by Alex O’Flinn. Gotham Awards 2014. Independent Spirit Awards 2014.
Ana Lily Amirpour uses gorgeous black and white cinematography to turn California until a tiny Iranian town as the backdrop of her original if underwhelming vampire film. Arash has to deal with his father’s drug addiction, a problem which brings violence into his home when his father’s dealer comes over demanding money he is owed. Upon returning to his own home, the dealer is dispatched by the beautiful young woman who he doesn’t realize has a pair of impressive fangs, a vampire who wanders the town searching for people to feed on. Her jaded attitude towards her undead life has her deciding if people are bad enough before choosing them for the kill, but her dusty heart is challenged when she meets Arash and their connection makes her question her notion of the solitary life she is devoted to. At core it’s not a familiar given a very unusual twist in its cultural setting and aesthetic style, but the manner in which it plays out is remarkably dull. Amirpour makes an endless series of gorgeous images but it’s only her protagonist who has any life to her (ironically), everyone else is a shallow stereotype and the developing romance isn’t sympathetic enough to hold your attention.