Critic Reviews



Based on 20 critic reviews provided by
A quality ghost story with an unusual backdrop and great performances.
Under the Shadow is not only perfectly paced, the storytelling and plotting is emotionally gripping. The director also uses setting and location, composition and framing like a master of horror.
The Iranian filmmaker wisely uses the genre to work through themes of oppression, rebellion, and femininity without ever politicizing the film. This is prestige horror, the kind with tricks and treats that arrive with purpose and linger for years.
Under the Shadow smartly observes the emotions stirred up by a world defined by restrictions, and the terrifying possibility that they might be inescapable.
Anvari deftly builds and sustains tension throughout, crafting a horror movie that respects genre conventions...while firmly establishing its own distinctive identity.
The Film Stage
Under The Shadow is a rare genre film of emotional and political complexity, one that’s well-acted and directed, even if the psychological horror is front and center.
The culturally specific elements that Iran-born, British-based first time writer-director Babak Anvari brings to the picture makes this a distinctive spin on a familiar premise.
Slyly merging a familiar but effective genre exercise with a grim allegory of female oppression, Babak Anvari’s resourceful writing-directing debut grounds its premise in something at once vaguely political and ineluctably sinister.
Slant Magazine
The film's horror is spookily and movingly expressive of the tenuous position of women in 1980s Iran.
There’s still something exciting about seeing familiar tropes placed in an unfamiliar context — in this case, a nation ravaged by violent conflict and stifled by fundamentalist law.

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