Under The Shadow is a Persian drama set during the Iran-Iraq War 1980-1988 where, due to being politically active at one time, Shideh (Narges Rashidi) is being chucked out of medical school. Everywhere she turns, she feels someone or something is trying to do her a disservice, for example when she says being a doctor is her dream, yet her husband, Iraj (Bobby Naderi), maintains it’s her late mother’s dream.
Meanwhile, the war leads to missiles and bombs going off on a regular basis, leading to the residents of the apartment block hiding down in the basement, while her daughter, Dorsa (Avin Manshadi), thinks something is walking around in the house overnight and she’s scared of something called “Djinn”.
Under the Shadow features some weird supernatural stuff going on, but rather than using this to build up tension, these moments are all very few and far between. In fact, it’s only in the last 15-20 mins that events really kick in. For the first half-hour I was thinking, “I thought this was meant to be a horror film. Have I mixed this up with something else?”, but when it does happen, it has a reasonable stab at J-horror.
The film is presented in the original 2.35:1 widescreen ratio and, with it only being available on DVD, the picture feels a bit too soft compared to the average disc in that format. It’s a shame that this wasn’t released on Blu-ray. I know I wasn’t a huge fan of it, but it has had some critical acclaim.
The audio is in DTS 5.1. There’s some split-surround FX with some of the bombing and also in the general atmosphere, such as when the camera turns around, leaving the TV in the background.
There are a measly six chapters, subtitles are in English only, the menu is silent and static, and the only extra is an English audio descriptive track.
Under The Shadow is out now on DVD, and check out the full-size cover by clicking on the packshot.
Running time: 84 mins
Distributor: Precision Pictures
Released: January 23rd 2017
Sound: DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio
Disc Format: DVD5
Director: Babak Anvari
Producers: Emily Leo, Oliver Roskill and Lucan Toh
Screenplay: Babak Anvari
Music: Gavin Cullen and Will McGillivray
Shideh: Narges Rashidi
Dorsa: Avin Manshadi
Iraj: Bobby Naderi
Mr. Ebrahimi: Ray Haratian
Dr. Reza: Arash Marandi
Director: Bijan Daneshmand
Secretary: Sajjad Delafrooz
Pargol: Behi Djanati Atai
Mr. Fakur: Hamid Djavadan
Mrs. Fakur: Soussan Farrokhnia
Mrs. Ebrahimi: Aram Ghasemy
Mr. Bijari: Nabil Koni
Young Soldier: Amir Hossein Ranjbar
Police officer: Houshang Ranjbar