Under The Shadow - On Netflix Now

I watched "Under The Shadow" almost two weeks ago. There hasn't been a day since my viewing that I haven't thought about it. It's a film about the specter of war and fascism. So aside from the fact that it's thoughtfully crafted and well-performed, it's also eerily relevant. I cannot recommend it highly enough.

I fully admit, I'm a strange mix of snob and cult fan when it comes to horror. Some of my favorite horror films in recent years have been "The Babadook" and "It Follows". I'm really looking forward to "The Autopsy of Jane Doe". (Which I believe was done by the same director who did the captivating and beautiful "Trollhunter".)

I'm a huge fan of the Evil Dead franchise, yet after the first season of Ash vs. The Evil Dead, I couldn't watch anymore. (Which really bums me out because I pretty much follow Bruce Campbell wherever he may go. In the fictional universe! Not in the stalking way.)

I've always been strangely sensitive to very specific content. Post-apocalyptic stuff in particular always stays with me in a negative way. (a la nightmare fuel) I've never been able to stomach slasher films or haunted houses because I can't abide fake violence when it echoes actual violence happening in the world. It's why I hated the church scene in the comic adaptation "Kingsman". It's not a fun catharsis for me to see women and black men getting mowed down in unspeakable ways. Yet the over-the-top ending that saw villains' heads exploding in tiny little rainbow clouds? Didn't bother me in the least.

The ultraviolence of a Tarantino movie seems to exist in an alternate universe. A world where Samurai swords can be taken on planes like carry-ons. It tends not to stay with me because it's not realistic. I don't believe it's happening and I don't have to worry about 88 samurai being killed by a woman out for revenge. Anybody who tries to pretend that a film fan's love should behave itself in a certain way doesn't understand the fact that movies are capable of evoking nuanced emotions in widely varying individuals. I used to avoid writing about horror because of how many people tend to show up to tell you, "You can't feel that way."

Well...horror is specifically designed to evoke and antagonize. And an antagonized brain won't always behave in a predictable way. Like Wes Craven said, "Horror films don't create fear. They release it." It's been a long time since we've had such a buffet of varying, specific possible fears from which to choose. Usually it's a single threat that shows up as a theme. In the past, it's been communism and the cold war. The 80's saw a fear of what affluence might bring along with it. You get the idea.

In that tradition, Under The Shadow presents a familiar terror. Something strangely realistic, which I realize is an odd anecdote about a horror film involving...well, I won't spoil it in case you haven't seen it. It spends as much time on the resentment oppression brings as it does on supernatural forces. Like Poltergeist so many years before, and so many movies since, Under The Shadow wants to remind you that your home might not offer the solace you assume it will. Not when "they" are coming for you.

Watch the trailer below, then head to Netflix for an incredible film.

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