On Babak Anvari’s Under The Shadow (2016)

Toronto After Dark is quickly gaining massive brownie points with me what with their premier of Trash Fire on a double bill with Babak Anvari‘s Under The Shadow I had the pleasure of seeing what is now another superior piece of filmmaking to add to my 2016 top ten.

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Under The Shadow begins with a penitent looking Shideh (Narges Rashidi) pleading her case in an Iranian medical school which she had previously been expelled from for her political leanings. However she is told in no uncertain terms that she may cease her campaign as her previous behaviour has slammed the door on any further pursuit of her dream of being a doctor.  With her dreams dashed a despondent Shideh returns to her apartment complex to console herself in the company of her young daughter Dorsa (Avin Manshadi) and her doctor husband Iraj (Bobby Naderi). Her solace is quickly shaken when Iraj is called away to help in the current war with Iraq leaving her and Dorsa to their own devices in an increasingly empty and hostile environment. What is it plaguing Shideh and terrifying Dorsa? Is it the imaginings of a scared young girl and her rebellious mother? Or something far more sinister?

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This film is a slow burn. Getting you into the routine of the family and those surrounding them. Teasing you with frights all too real dealing with the war far before the creepy crawlies arrive to help you further soil your shorts. If jump scares and tricky camera work and solid story telling are your thing then make haste to the cinema and see this well made ghost story!

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