Thursday, September 29, 2016

Under the Shadow - bound by fear in this sinister Tehran horror (QFT until 6 October)

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too. [Kipling]

Under the Shadow starts out as a tense conflict-based study of a mother Shideh and daughter Dorsa (played by Narges Rashidi and Avin Manshadi) staying on in their Tehran city centre apartment while their neighbours flee the missile attacks and the father Iraj (Bobby Naderi) is drafted to the front lines of the Iran-Iraq war as a medic.

It’s the 1980s and director Babak Anvari portrays a city where everything can be seemingly fixed with masking tape. But tape turns out not to be sufficient to cover over the cracks in the minds of those left behind when a hole in the ceiling disturbs the fabric of life.

A lost doll is quickly followed by lost minds in this psychological terror which finds time to explore women’s rights, the consequences of political activism in Iran.

At the start, household objects are given the sound of guns and bombs. But soon these sounds are being heard for real.

The neurotic mother and her sullen child battle against the voices they hear and the sinister creatures who threaten the mental health of those left behind in the city under siege.

While The A-Team-esque escape ending ruins the tension that has been building in your stomach for the preceding eighty minutes, if you like horror films with people desperately trying to escape the restraints of society and themselves, then head along to the Queen’s Film Theatre where Under the Shadow is playing between 30 September until 6 October.

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