Under the Shadow trailer

Babak Anvari‘s Under the Shadow premiered to rave reviews at Sundance this year (including one from yours truly) and has spent the past several months collecting still more praise on the festival circuit, hitting SXSW, Fantasia, and more. Now it’s finally headed to theaters, just in time to get yourself good and terrified for Halloween.

Set in the 1980s during the height of the Iran-Iraq war, Under the Shadow follows a mother and daughter left to fend for themselves in Tehran after the father is conscripted into military service. Everyday life is nerve-wracking as it is, what with air raid sirens going off at random, political turmoil upending the social order, and religious zealots eager to find and punish anyone who steps out of line. But things go from bad to worse when the mother starts to suspect a djinn is haunting the family.

Watch the Under the Shadow trailer below.  Read More »

Under The Shadow

Ever since The Babadook premiered at Sundance in 2014, it feels like every new critically beloved, out-of-nowhere horror hit has been touted as “the new Babadook.” Most of the time, the descriptor is just a catchy way of saying “this horror film’s got buzz.” Many of these “new Babadooks,” from It Follows to The Witch, aren’t all that much like The Babadook at all, and — in my estimation — none of them have been quite as good.

In the case of this year’s Sundance horror Under the Shadow, though, the description really does seem apt. The film works for many of the same reasons The Babadook does. Like The Babadook, Under the Shadow relies more on tension and dread than cheap jump scares. And as with The Babadook, the uneasiness lingers long after the credits have rolled because it evokes real-life horrors, rather than simply relying on supernatural ones.  Read More »