When I first heard about this movie which is advertised as the first Iranian Vampire Western, I assumed the movie was actually shot in Iran. This is not the case. Writer/director Ana Lily Amirpour is of Iranian descent but she was born in England and raised in the U.S. This is her first full length feature film and it was shot in California but set in a fictional Iranian town called Bad City. The cast all speak Persian.
The film is shot in black and white and follows a young man named Arash (Arash Marandi). Arash has a nice car that he’s worked 2,191 days for but his father is a junkie and owes money to a drug dealing pimp named Saeed (Dominic Rains). Saeed takes Arash’s car for payment. Saeed has prostitute named Atti (Mozhan Marnò) that he mistreats. Meanwhile a girl (Sheila Vand) has been watching Saeed. She allows him to pick her up and take back to his place. The girl is a vampire and she feeds on Saeed. Arash runs into the girl a couple of times and falls in love with her.
The film isn’t really a horror movie. It’s stylistic, dark and shadowy but it’s more about loneliness than about horror. The girl is lonely, Arash is lonely, Arash’s father is lonely and Atti is lonely. I had just watched three Michelangelo Antonioni movies in row and this fits more in line with those movies than with the current slate of horror films that fill the movie theatres. I’ve read some reviews mentioning a Jim Jarmusch influence and I can see it.
The Kino Lorber Blu-ray comes with a comic book that gives some of the characters a little bit of back story. If you are looking for a vampire horror movie you are going to be disappointed but if you are looking for something different, the kind of movie that doesn’t get made all that often anymore than this is worth checking out.