It’s October, a.k.a. scary movie season, which means we’re probably due our 15th Paranormal Activity or yet another dodgy reboot of an ‘80s slasher classic. But if you can manage to avoid those horrors, there’s one new film you should make an effort to track down this month, Under the Shadow. Here’s why it’s the most terrifying film you’ve seen in a long time.
1. It’s Got Djinn In
Have you ever seen a film where the monster is a djinn? No? Me neither, and it’s hard to resist a film that actually gives us something new to be scared by, rather than trotting out zombies, vampires, or lank-haired Japanese girls all over again.
2. No Gore
That may sound like an odd point of praise for a horror film but bear with me. There’s barely a drop of blood in Under the Shadow, but that doesn’t make it any less terrifying (it’s proper scary). Don’t get me wrong, a good blood splatter can be great fun, but it’s nice to see a modern horror film remind us that you don’t need loose body parts to create terror.
3. It’s Set in Tehran
Again, how many horror films have you seen in Tehran? Hollywood horror tends to be fixated on sleepy suburbs, small-town USA, or creepy countrysides. Under the Shadow gets a totally different space to play with. The film also boasts themes that we’ve never seen before in horror films like religious oppression and Iranian gender norms.
Huh, what is it good for, etc. etc. Under the Shadow is set during the Iraq-Iran war in the ‘80s. That means propaganda, air raid sirens, and the occasional bomb falling from the sky, just in case the Djinn wasn’t enough to scare you on its own.
5. It’s Retro
Speaking of, it’s set in the ‘80s, which means we get the treat of the central character having to hide her contraband Jane Fonda workout video. It’s just like Stranger Things, but Iranian and without the non-stop Stephen King references.
6. It’s a Bit Clever
OK, sure, maybe you don’t want too much social commentary in your horror. But there’s nothing wrong with a bit, and at least with Under the Shadow you’re guaranteed it’ll be interesting, touching on the veil, women’s education, and religious freedom in Iran.
7. It’s This Year’s Babadook
Did you see The Babadook? It was great. Like, really great. This is 2016’s The Babadook. Single parent, cute kid, creepy monster, small budget, directorial debut, totally brilliant. Go watch it.
Under the Shadow is set to debut in select theaters on Friday, October 7th. It will also be on Netflix in the near future.