Under the Shadow

This cracking, jangling horror has been chosen as the UK’s entry for the Foreign language Oscar. I hope it makes the nominations as it’s the most accessible Farsi-language film I’ve ever seen, a really clever and unusual horror.

It’s set under the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s – Jane Fonda workouts and Yazoo videos – in an apartment block in Tehran, where a mother (Narges Rashidi) is left alone with her daughter during air raids.

The daughter is convinced “Djinn” are chasing them and hiding her dolly Kamia. And with the sirens, the bombs, the shocks and nightmares, we soon believe her.

It’s scary – I even jumped at the toaster popping up – but it’s also very smart about women’s place in society, having to cover up in public, having to be ‘possessed’. The cloaking power of the Djinn parallels the warring regimes… excellent stuff from director Babak Anvari, properly creepy and brilliantly done for the budget, resulting in one of the major film discoveries of the year.

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