In western culture movies become iconic quickly. For example, entire generations who missed the original Star Wars film can nonetheless recite dialog from it. Horrow films fit the same mold. The tropes, tricks, plot arcs and even to a large degree the SFX become familiar over time because they are part of the overall experience you expect.
But what happens when a horror fan experiences a film from a different culture? Are the building blocks the same ... or different? One of the clearest exponents of this issue is this film, a modern "horror" film produced in an Islamic country that is known neither for its horror films nor really for its interest in films at all.
Which is what makes UNDER THE SHADOW SO REMARKABLE.
It is good enough to stand on its own as a horror piece. In fact, it's only possible failing -- that it builds so slowly and gradually -- can in fact be considered a major strength. It may well be that, in the west, film-makers who lack the skill to "layer" their suspense raise the temperature far too quickly? However when you consider the obvious incorporation of allegory and metaphor to overlay the plight of the heroine in her real life against her plight in the supernatural realm .. the film gets even more intriguing. Not preachy. Just interesting.
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