Writer: Babak Anvari (Screenplay)
Starring: Narges Rashidi, Avin Manshadi, Bobby Naderi, Ray Haratian, Arash Marandi
Plot: As a mother and daughter struggle to cope with the terrors of the post-revolution, war-torn Tehran of the 1980s, a mysterious evil begins to haunt their home.
There may be spoilers the rest of the review
Verdict: One of the Best This Year
Story: Under the Shadow starts by putting us through a quick history lesson as we learn about the war between Iraq and Iran in the 1980s where anxiety in these countries had risen. We go onto meet Shideh (Rashidi) a mother in Tehran who is kicked out of her studies due to her side during the revolution who is raising her daughter Dorsa (Manshadi) with her husband Iraj (Naderi).
When Iraj gets drafted Shideh must look after Dorsa alone in the apartment which is always being targeted by the Iraqi missile. When Dorsa speaks to a relative of one of the residents she claims to have been told about Djion an evil spirit that she now believes in real.
When strange things start happening around the apartment Shideh start believing in the stories but we are left to wonder if this is real or just a side effect of all the war events going on around them.
Under the Shadow gives us a horror much like what the Babadok gave us where we get to wonder if there is horror or are all events effects from the stress of war. This works so well throughout the film because we are left to read the film in two ways because we can see the horror side and enjoy the scares but we can also look at the drama side and see just how this mother daughter relationship gets pushed to the very edge.
There are very good jump scares going on through this film which will surprise you when they hit because the best jump scares happen when you don’t see them. The acting between Rashidi and Manshadi both give brilliant performances throughout. The final point is looking at cultural aspects of the film all work too as we see how Shideh gets criticised for her actions in the film. This is easily one of the best horror films you will see this year.
Overall: One of the best horrors you will see this year.