Tuesday, 2 August 2016

MIFF MOVIE REVIEW: UNDER THE SHADOW



8/10

It's late 80s, the time of the deadly conclusion for Iran-Iraq war. The mother and  daughter are struggling to cope in a Tehran apartment block. As the neighbours are shifting out one by one, strange things start to occur and some menacing entity is watching them. In a country consumed by fear, is there a safe place to hide?

Borrowing heavily from many famous horror movies, in particular DARK WATERS by Hideo Nakata, this Iranian horror flick has a unique atmosphere that is nothing like you've seen before. Recent horror success movies such as THE CONJURING are thriving on period themes, and UNDER THE SHADOW is no exception. What distinguishes it, is the sense of dread which is coming not just from a supernatural element, but also from the environment, from the time and the place itself. Here we are entering a different world indeed, and while the first half of the film is not heavy on scares, it delivers enough tension just by showing people's daily lives, where a woman who walks the streets without a headscarf can be physically punished and VCRs and foreign video tapes are illegal.

The movie uses all the familiar tropes, such as jump scares, dreams sequences etc, but it all comes new somehow, as if served under a different sauce. This short scary movie, rich in atmosphere, will appeal even to those, who do not favour the genre of horror.

QUICK FACTS

Director Babak Anvari has used his own childhood as an inspiration when writing the script;

The movie was not shot in Iran; All the Iranian actors had come from Europe and USA;

After its premiere in Sundance Film Festival the movie had been labelled as Anti-Iranian by the Iranian media;

Netflix has acquired the rights for the movie and will be releasing it worldwide in January 2017;


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