Netflix Daily Pick: Living With a Nightmare in ‘Under the Shadow’ (2016)

Middle Easter horror is today's daily pick.

Under the Shadow is 2016 horror film about a mother and daughter who struggle to cope with the terrors of the post-revolution, war-torn Tehran of the 1980s, as a mysterious evil begins to haunt their home. 

Today’s Netflix pick is wrought with family issues and the real life terror or living through a war.  But it also has something a little less conventional: a malevolent Middle Eastern spirit who came on the wind. A Djinn. Following in the shadow of greats like The Babadook, this movie centres around a mother struggling to keep things together when everything seems to be unraveling.  It’s about internal struggles that manifest themselves in terrifying ways. It’s innovative, well written and the acting is top notch. It’s Under the Shadow and it’s what you’re watching tonight. Here’s why.

THE STORYShideh (Narges Rashidi) is desperately trying to keep things together and provide a safe and stable environment for her family as the fighting gets closer and closer to their home during the Iran-Iraq war.  Shideh also has to contend with depression and feelings of purposelessness after being accused of subversion and kicked out of medical school. Stuck at home alone with her daughter, Dorsa (Avin Manshadi), after her husband (Bobby Naderi) is drafted into the war, things start to take a turn for the worse when their apartment building is hit by a missile and their neighbour dies somewhat mysteriously. As Dorsa’s behaviour becomes more and more odd as the days go on, Shideh starts to doubt what she’s seeing and the strange occurances that keep happening.  A superstitious neighbour thinks that the source might be a Djinn, but that’s just crazy … right?

Under the Shadow
Under the Shadow, 2016 © Wigwam Films

WHY YOU SHOULD WATCHNarges Rashidi is a force to be reckoned with and she is wonderful to watch in this movie. Like The Babadook, Under the Shadow treads the line between real life struggles and their supernatural manifestations and while nothing truly compares to The Babadook, this film is still very well done and more than worth the watch. Director Babak Anvari has created something with depth, intelligence and truly harrowing moments. It’s streaming on Netflix right now.

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