Academic journal article Journal of Religion and Film

Under the Shadow

Academic journal article Journal of Religion and Film

Under the Shadow

Article excerpt

Under the Shadow

(2016)

Written and Directed by Babak Anvari

Under the Shadow is a delightful horror story. I haven't heard so much screaming by an audience in twenty years. The woman next to me hit me with her elbow when she went to cover her eyes. I thought I was going to need medical attention. The screaming was always followed by nervous laughter - and I mean nervous. The entire audience was on edge.

Set in Tehran during the height of Iran/Iraq war in 1988, a mother, father, and daughter try to survive. But the father is called to duty and must leave the family. As the war comes closer to home, the neighbors begin moving to safer locations and in the end the mother, Shideh, and daughter, Dorsa, are left alone to fend for themselves. Well, not alone exactly. It seems that an evil spirit, what Muslims call a Djinn, has entered their home along with one of the unexploded bombs being dropped on them, and Dorsa can see it. The Djinn has supernatural qualities much like Satan and it has the ability to possess people.

Although mother and daughter should have left the city along with their neighbors, Shideh is strong, and works hard to protect her daughter: she is an aspiring doctor and a political activist - a modern woman in a sexist society. …

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