Under the Shadow (2016) Movie Review

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2016 | PG-13 | Horror, Thriller, War
84 minutes /

User Score: 57/100

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Under the Shadow Review


As a mother and daughter struggle to cope with the terrors of the post-revolution, war-torn Tehran of the 1980s...

Under the Shadow (2016) is a UK/Jordan/Qatar thriller horror movie that first-time full-length director and writer Babak Anvari (Two & Two (2011), Solitary (2007), What’s Up with Adam? (2005)) did a phenomenal job executing. Babak is an Iranian-born British filmmaker displays his talents in this gripping thriller that revolve around a mother and daughter encountering supernatural occurrences. Under the Shadow was a thrilling, fast-paced adventurous ride with solid scares, minimal CGI, sophisticated scares, no gore, intense scenes and an excellent screenplay.

Under the Shadow was set in 1988 when the Iraqis started to send missile attacks on Tehran. Shideh (Narges Rashidi - Aeon Flux (2005), Von glucklichen Schafen (2015), A2Z (2007), Asudem (2007)) was a leftist radical while attending college. The government vetoes her from returning to college to finish her studies in medicine after the Revolution. Shideh’s husband Iraj (Bobby Naderi - Argo (2012), The Taqwacores (2010), Mossadegh (2011), Groovin’ On (2011)) is a doctor who does not help her much with his advises. Iraj had no choice but to go away for military services. He asks/begs Shideh to take their daughter Dorsa (Avin Manshadi) and go live with his parents in the north because it is safer than where they currently reside. There is not much for Shideh and her daughter to do around the apartment since all of the schools are closed because of the constant bombing. Shideh is a strong, confident woman that does not want to give up her independence resulting in them to seek shelter with others in their apartment building basement as constant air-raid alerts/attacks. It did not take long for a missile to leave cracks in Shideh’s living room ceiling when it did not explode. The landlord of the building takes in a little orphan boy who started talking to Dorsa and telling her about frightening things although he was said to be a mute later in the movie. Dorsa soon began to see apparitions in their apartment and to make things creepier; her favorite doll is missing. Dorsa became sleepless with a persistent fever and her mother soon began seeing apparitions as well.

The movie progresses to becoming a very disturbing piece of work as Shideh learns about the djinn who travel with the wind where there are fear and anxiety. She also discovers that if the dark entity gets their hands on a human’s cherished possession, then it will become attached to that person forever. I could not get over one scene where Shideh runs into the streets without wearing her hijab - she was reminded that females were not wearing their hijab are an offense that is punishable by lashes, scary in an emotional way. It is later discovered that djinn is traveling through the apartments via the cracks in the ceiling. The persuasive editing and cinematography were excellent as well as the numerous jump scares and tension throughout. This is a film that reminds me of Babadook (2014), and it should not be missed.

About Under the Shadow 2016

Title: Under the Shadow
Year: 2016
Runtime: 84 minutes
Type: Movie
Genre: Horror, Thriller, War
Score: 4 / 5 stars
Avg. Rating: 2.8/5 stars from 23 users.
Total Avg. Votes: 23
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Starring: Hamid Djavadan, Arash Marandi, Ray Haratian, Narges Rashidi, Amir Ranjbar, Avin Manshadi, Bobby Naderi, Bijan Daneshmand, Sajjad Delafrooz, Behi Djanati Atai, Soussan Farrokhnia, Aram Ghasemy, Nabil Koni, Amir Hossein Ranjbar, Houshang Ranjbar, Karam Rashayda, Zainab Zamamiri, Khaled Zamamiri, Adel Darageh, Ehab Rousan, Rami Mehyar, Suhaila Armani, Ahmad Mehyar, Abu Rashed, Zeid Jad, Motasem Younis, Jalal Izzat
Writers: Babak Anvari
Director: Babak Anvari