Thursday, October 26, 2017

Under the Shadow (2016) 1h 24m

War is hell.  Ghosts might be from hell.  Therefore, Ghosts might come from War?  Oh shit!  Things got too real in this intro...

Under the Shadow is an Iranian film set during the Iran-Iraq war of the 80's.  A family is split up when the husband is sent to be a medic on the front lines and the wife stays behind with their child.  After a series of unexplained incidents and strange behavior from the daughter, the mother begins to believe that the building may have a spirit haunting them.

I have the reoccurring complaint that a lot of horror films have poor pacing.  While this film is guilty of crawling to the supernatural elements I feel like it's a conscious decision by the writer/director.  The supernatural horror is such a small piece of the greater horror that surrounds the mother and daughter.  Cultural misogyny, the fear that comes with living in a war zone (a missile actually crashes into the building at one point but doesn't detonate), parenthood, losing direction as a person, all of these are the anxieties that people can face and I think the ghost or whatever here is just a physical manifestation of these.  We get a brief description where it says these spirits come on "the winds" where there exists a lot of fear, anxiety, and trauma so why would that not exist in corporeal form?

I think that if you want just a surface spooky movie then this probably isn't going to be the film for you.  It took me a bit to recognize the deeper thread running through it and I was ready to just let this one fall off.  I'm glad I didn't but Under the Shadow is kind of a one-and-done.

I give Under the Shadow 2 clip art bombs out of 5:

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