First of all, I think I am in love with Narges Rashidi. It’d be great if somebody can relay this to her. She is just amazing and so beautiful and I can go on and on but I have to do a movie review, so let’s do that. But before doing so, let me just put this poster here. Just because I think it’s a great poster.

Under The Shadow is a Persian horror-thriller movie by Babak Anvari. The story is of a family who live in a war-torn Tehran. Shideh played by the gorgeous Narges Rashidi is mother to the cutest little girl Dorsa played by Avin Mashidi and wife to Iraj played by Bobby Naderi. Unable to complete her medical degree due to a muddled past, Shideh decides to be stubborn and stay in Tehran and wait for the bad time to pass. Iraj, who is a doctor, has to go away to serve in the more affected regions. Right after the day he leaves a humongous missile rips into the building. All the tenants start to leave due to the fear of being blown to bits, but the missile wasn’t the only thing that entered that day.

The best thing about this movie is the pace at which the tension increases. Before talking about the horror aspect, I have to appreciate the establishment of each character within 18 minutes of screen-time. It’s not an easy task but Babak concentrated at the minute aspects of each character and formed an easy map for the audience to follow.
Coming back to the horror. This is the best horror movie I have seen since The Conjuring and I mean pure horror. Like Don’t Breathe wasn’t a typical horror flick and it can be clubbed into the thriller genre. But this was pure horror. Bone-chilling horror. Like I was saying, the slow tightening of the fear factor was really effective. It felt like a noose tightening around the neck and you don’t have any idea when you’ll get yanked into the deep dark abyss(shit! I got all snobby).
The choice for the premise of the story, added to the already built-up tension. I can only imagine the horror that a war can have on normal people. The choice of the prevalent fear of war is a very credible explanation for all that was happening, but I bet you that you can’t apply that logic while watching it. I was trying to reason with the movie that all of it is just due to stress and fear but after the 2nd act, none of that reasoning works. I was into it and I was enjoying the tension because I haven’t seen a good horror flick since The Conjuring.

The technical aspects of the movie just added to everything that was happening. There were some beautifully horrifying imagery. It’s not the shock factor that is the main reason for the horror and due to that reason the camera had the time to linger on a singular frame, so that we as an audience can take it all in before moving on to the next shot. The editing was pretty crisp because there were a lot of sudden transitions and the timing was bang on. The music was creepy and eerie and it usually kicked in during the night sequences. Sometimes there was no music and just heavy breathing. Just imagine!
The movie felt very self-contained. There were no excess flash-backs to show the traumatic past of the characters. Just little hints. The usage of CGI was very minimal and I loved the colour tone of the movie. Majority of the movie was contained in that single building and the way that building was used is praiseworthy. What’s also extremely praiseworthy is (yes, you guessed it) Narges Rashidi’s strong performance coupled with an equally amazing supporting performance by little Avin Mashidi. I haven’t seen much of Narges’ other performances, so if you know of  any other good films that she has performed in, then sound off in the comment section.

FINAL VERDICT – If you’re used to horror and you’re a horror fan and you think that you have seen it all, well you haven’t seen it all  if you haven’t seen this. Definitely watch it. Turn off the lights and take in, all of it. Movies like this don’t come very often. Regular movie watchers, also watch it, obviously. If you have high blood pressure or any kind of heart condition, then watch it. At least you’ll die in peace.
Just kidding, don’t watch it if you have high BP or any kind of heart-condition. You won’t survive it.

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