Iranian director Babak Anvari’s slow-burn drama suggests “The Babadook” by way of the Iranian New Wave. Set during the 1988 Iran-Iraq war, the movie finds a young mother guarding her daughter’s life as Iraqi bombs rain down on unsuspecting buildings at night. But that turns out to be the least of their problems when their apartment winds up haunted by a demonic presence that puts the daughter in its crosshairs. Solid jump scares are given fresh definition thanks to Anvari’s clever use of the minimalist setting, and the developing sense that the real terror lurks outside, where an oppressive government offers little in the way of respite. The scariest thing about “Under the Shadow” is that fleeing one monster doesn’t guarantee safety from a much larger one in the form of the authorities. —EK
Sundance NEXT FEST, which returns to Los Angeles for the fourth consecutive year next month, has just announced its full film and music lineup. Sundance selections like “Lovesong,” “Morris From America” and “Under the Shadow” will all make their L.A. premieres over the weekend of August 12 – 14, with Shamir and Sunflower Bean among the musical acts performing after screenings. The Theatre at Ace Hotel will once again host the festivities.
“Sundance NEXT FEST has become a summer staple for independent film and music fans in Los Angeles who want to experience what’s new and next in culture,” said Trevor Groth, Sundance’s Director of Programming. This is our biggest and weirdest lineup to date, and I can’t wait for people to see what we’ve dreamt up this year.” A talent show, Q&As, a short-film program hosted by Nick Kroll and a to-be-announced musical performance will also be featured. Find the full lineup below.