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Under the Shadow

Original Name: Under the Shadow

Genre: Horror

Release Date: 7 October 2016


Cast: , ,


With so many horror films trading ideas for scares, its refreshing to find a film that has an abundance of both. Due to their lack of production techniques or budgets (I am not sure), horror films coming out of the Middle East, have been repulsive at best. But right from its 1st trailer to its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, something about this Farsi language film seemed intriguing, mainly due to its leaner introduction to the supernatural entities known as Djinns. This supernatural forces or demonic presences from Islamic mythology are malevolent spirits that whip around your apartment amid gusts of wind, moving things around, terrorizing people and stealing children. While two films in recent times, Jinn (2014) and Djinn (2013), exploring the same had some ghastly results (despite the later being directed by Tobe Hopper, the man behind The Texas Chainsaw Massacre films and Poltergeist) this Babak Ansari directed film will have you looking askew at sheets of fabric.

Director Babak Ansari is clearly somebody who has an obvious cine literate understanding and love for the horror genre, and manages to craft a film that earns its frights through a type of storytelling that is so regularly absent from the studio Horror films that it deserves your absolute attention. In my opinion, horror films generally work best when there is a sense of mystery to proceedings, the unknown being one of the scariest things there is. This was the reason that the J-Horror films from Japan were so terrifying to western audiences, as the Japanese conception of the supernatural was so different to ours meaning that things happened in those films that were highly unpredictable and unsettling. It’s this same reason that this horror film from an Iranian cultural perspective feels more original in approach. And so it proves, as while there are familiar elements in this ghost story, such as placing a mother and child into the same psycho-supernatural danger as films like Rosemary’s Baby, Poltergeist or more recently The Babadook there are also aspects that are less predictable, resulting in a fascinating film.