In the 80's, during the war between the Islamic post-revolutionary Iran and Iraq, the former leftist medical student Shideh tries to return to the university but is barred by the dean. The upset Shideh returns home and when her husband Dr. Iraj is assigned to work in a war zone, she refuses to move to his parent's house with their daughter Dorsa. Shideh prefers to stay in her apartment with Dorsa, who loves her doll Kimia and has constant fever. Dorsa is afraid of demoniac Djinns and when Shideh asks who told her about the legend, she tells that her friend that lives downstairs. Shideh visits her neighbor and asks his mother to tell her son to not tell horror stories to Dorsa and she learns that the boy is mute. Then Kimia and Shideh's Jane Fonda workout tape disappear. When a missile strikes their building, the neighbors decide to leave Tehran, but Shideh stays in the apartment with Dorsa, who is increasingly disturbed. Soon Shideh reads about Djinns and finds that there is an evil ...Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
In western culture movies become iconic quickly. For example, entire generations who missed the original Star Wars film can nonetheless recite dialog from it. Horrow films fit the same mold. The tropes, tricks, plot arcs and even to a large degree the SFX become familiar over time because they are part of the overall experience you expect.
But what happens when a horror fan experiences a film from a different culture? Are the building blocks the same ... or different? One of the clearest exponents of this issue is this film, a modern "horror" film produced in an Islamic country that is known neither for its horror films nor really for its interest in films at all.
Which is what makes UNDER THE SHADOW SO REMARKABLE.
It is good enough to stand on its own as a horror piece. In fact, it's only possible failing -- that it builds so slowly and gradually -- can in fact be considered a major strength. It may well be that, in the west, film-makers who lack the skill to "layer" their suspense raise the temperature far too quickly? However when you consider the obvious incorporation of allegory and metaphor to overlay the plight of the heroine in her real life against her plight in the supernatural realm .. the film gets even more intriguing. Not preachy. Just interesting.
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