It’s Paranormal Activity Teheran style in this realistically told little haunted house story set against the backdrop of true-life horror. An Iranian mother is bounced from medical school after being found guilty of being politically active in her youth. With her husband away on business and her young daughter battling night terrors, the shift from family drama to djinn game is so subtle as to be barely perceived. Like any great horror film, Under the Shadow is about more than just cheap thrills. Forcing the man of the house to make an early exit was a stroke of genius. That leaves first-time director Babak Anvari ample room to focus on the mother-daughter relationship, expertly smuggling in issues concerning the treatment of women during the time of the Iran-Iraq war. And credit supervising sound designer Alex Joseph for transforming the tiny flat into an aural chamber of horrors. Not to be missed. (2016) — Scott Marks
This movie is not currently in theaters.