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437 Ratings

Under the Shadow

Directed by Babak Anvari
United Kingdom, Iran, 2016
Horror, Thriller, Drama


As a mother and daughter struggle to cope with the terrors of the post-revolution, war torn Tehran of the 80s, a mysterious evil begins to haunt their home.

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Under the Shadow Directed by Babak Anvari

Awards & Festivals

Independent Spirit Awards

2017 | Nominee: Best International Film

Indiewire Critics' Poll

2016 | Nominee: Best First Feature

What are people saying?

  • msmichel's rating of the film Under the Shadow

    Effective horror thriller that brings to mind far better films but with a political parable that is giving the film some novelty. The horror of a woman's role in post revolution Iran certainly trumps the generic 'djinn' horror element and as the film settles into the familiar it loses what could have made it special. Narges Rashidi is very good here and young Avin Manshadi joins the ranks of annoying kids in horror.

  • smndvdcl's rating of the film Under the Shadow

    Spine-tingling Iranian spiritual horror that plays with concept of the curse of Djinn that haunts you once marked. The scares come from the uncanny - the real world and supernatural colliding in mundane suburban domestic milieus. A cinematic gift to 2016.

  • MATTEO BITTANTI's rating of the film Under the Shadow

    Frankly, this feels like the Iranian remake of The Babadook, itself a problematic, highly overrated film. The incessant symbolism (the new oppressive regime is the real monster) is heavy handed. Hollywood-style "scare tactics" are counterproductive. The little red car was probably the scariest thing in the entire movie. Inter nos, I'm not really sure about the post-horror movie genre. I miss the French extremists.

  • Henri de Corinth's rating of the film Under the Shadow

    If you appreciate the conceits of Zulawski's Possession (domestic horror that develops in part out of a specific time and place), this might be the film for you. Like Possession, it makes political statements without being completely obvious or preachy about them (shayateen as a kind of homonym for aspects of Khomeini's Iran).

  • Jason's rating of the film Under the Shadow

    Great title for a film about life and horror under a repressive totalitarian regime! There was a good movie here. They failed to locate it. Basically what we have is an impressive (and totally successful) effort to transpose a shitty, cliched contemporary Hollywood horror movie into the world of 1980s Tehran (during the Iran/Iraq war). Lots of predictable frights. At least the little kid is great. Amazing cheeks!

  • Matthew Martens's rating of the film Under the Shadow

    It's I uh tole you so all over again in this return-of-the-decapitated tale of a handmaid's daughter's doll and its resident demon of Persian patriarchy, against which the cosmopolitan forces of Fonda jump fierce jacks and incur a not inconsiderable burn.

  • Nick Schwab's rating of the film Under the Shadow

    Akin to the recent spate of films that (mostly unsuccessfully) bridge domestic drama with horror (The Babadook, Maggie, They Look Like People,) Under the Shadow is a horror film for wimps and drama-lite. Despite its novel period setting, it too is odd that it's getting praise despite it being awfully cliched in narrative/content and obvious in meaning. Newsflash: just because it's nonviolent doesn't make it artier.

  • Tiago Inácio's rating of the film Under the Shadow

    if one would read Under the shadow script, we might say meh another ghost story family in peril jump scares horror. but filmmaking is mood, setting and execution. what we have here is great drama about a woman trying to take care of her daughter and at the same time deal with oppression in a male centric fundamentalist society. setting it in middle east gives us that extra texture, execution is marvelous. a triumph

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