LIFF30 Review: Under the Shadow – A horror without the fear factor
It’s a shame Under the Shadow is not better. It is very good but I wanted it to be scarier.
The film is actually the British entry for best foreign language film at the Oscars this year. For a horror film, Under the Shadow actually has a pretty good chance. If you look at the horror films that have done well at the Oscars, especially the famous ones, like Black Swan, The Silence of the Lambs, Jaws, and Rosemary’s Baby, they’re not really horror films. They all have elements of horror films, however, Black Swan, for example, is really a drama/thriller, Streetcar-Named-Desire-style woman-unravelling movie that references body horrors and giallos. Under the Shadow is a horror film, but it’s not particularly scary. However, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot to like about it.
It’s also very anti-war, and, despite the fact it’s a British film, it takes from Iranian folk lore in a way that makes it seem fresh.
For a start, the politics are interesting. It makes some really cogent points about what’s right thing to do in very delicate situations, and it also highlights certain issues women were facing in the 1980s that they still face today. It’s also very anti-war, and, despite the fact it’s a British film, it takes from Iranian folk lore in a way that makes it seem fresh.
It also has a really well established threat, helped by some structurally water-tight writing. It’s also nihilistic in a way that I quite enjoy and that reinforces the themes of the movie.
That being said I just wasn’t scared.
Image courtesy of Wigwam Films