A sweat-drenched, hypnotizing descent into horror, Babak Anvari’s Wounds is full of contradictions. It’s the type of movie that regularly swings from tense to laughable, from serious to ludicrous, from spine-tingling to eye-rolling. But I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t thoroughly entertained as I watched Armie Hammer and Dakota Johnson go off the deep end after discovering a cursed cell phone. Read More »
Posted on Monday, August 15th, 2016 by Angie Han
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 »
Posted on Monday, January 25th, 2016 by Angie Han
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 »