Set in 1988 during the final days of the Iran-Iraq War, Shideh (Narges Rashidi) and her daughter Dorsa (Avin Manshadi) are left on their own in their Tehran apartment when Shideh’s husband is taken away on military service. With the bloody war casting a dark shadow over their lives, the sanctuary of their family home is compromised when it appears to be haunted by evil spirits. Surrounded by terror inside and outside their house, mother and daughter are pushed to their limits as they struggle to survive.
British-based director Babak Anvari returned to the Tehran of this childhood to confront the intelligent theme of parenthood during wartime, artfully examining how the contagion of fear can breed monsters. It's an idea familiar from the Spanish-set films of Guillermo Del Toro, but presented here in a style that mixes the emotional intensity of Asghar Farhadi with the claustrophobic terror of Roman Polanski. Since its debut at Sundance 2016 Under the Shadow has been met with near universal acclaim, hailed as a modern horror classic that marks Anvari as a major talent in the making.
Comedy 2018 81 mins Director: Guto Parente
The wealthy elite feed off the lower classes in a deliciously twisted Brazilian social satire that’s definitely not for the squeamish.
Science Fiction 2019 102 mins Director: Justin Benson
Anthony Mackie and Jamie Dornan star as a pair of New Orleans paramedics who encounter a series of bizarre deaths linked to a new designer drug with otherworldly effects.
Horror 2019 81 mins Director: Rose Glass
A mysterious nurse becomes dangerously obsessed with saving the soul of her dying patient in director Rose Glass’ divine debut.
Thriller 2018 111 mins Director: Lenny Abrahamson
Lenny Abrahamson (Room, Frank) directs this Gothic mystery, with Domhnall Gleeson as a doctor helping the heir of a haunted stately home (Ruth Wilson).
Horror 2020 66 mins Director: Rob Savage
The lockdown horror sensation from British director Rob Savage follows six friends who disturb a malevolent spirit during a Zoom séance.
Horror 2020 90 mins Director: Natalie Erika James
Three generations of women are plagued by a supernatural presence in one of the year’s most terrifying films.
Fantasy 1984 95 mins Director: Neil Jordan
Angela Carter and Neil Jordan's magical, radical take on Little Red Riding Hood.
Horror 1922 89 mins Silent Director: F.W. Murnau
This influential Dracula adaptation contains some of the most famous images of expressionist film, with a new score by Hammer composer James Bernard.
Horror 2014 101 mins Director: Ana Lily Amirpour
If you only see one Iranian vampire western this year, make sure it’s this one. A female vampire stalks a ghost town in Ana Lily Amirpour’s arresting debut.
Thriller 2015 95 mins Director: Jeremy Saulnier
A punk band becomes besieged in the backstage hideaway of a hideous neo-Nazi club, in this gloriously tense shocker from the director of Blue Ruin.
Thriller 2016 109 mins Director: Juan Carlos Medina
Bill Nighy plays the arch detective investigating a series of grisly murders around the music halls of Victorian London, in this pungent Gothic mystery.
Drama 2017 92 mins Director: David Lowery
David Lowery's haunting exploration of love and loss, with Rooney Mara and Casey Affleck is a high-point of recent independent American cinema.
Drama 2020 103 mins
A lyrical and romantic biopic of the beloved creator of the Moomins featuring an incredible central performance by Alma Pöysti.
Musical 1998 77 mins Director: Julian Henriques
Neeta and her crew rise to dancehall fame in North West London's Caribbean community, in the first Black British musical.
Fantasy 2020 93 mins Director: Philippe Lacôte
To stay alive in an infamous Ivory Coast prison, a young man begins to narrate the mystical life of a legendary outlaw in this spectacular tale of survival and beautiful ode to the power of storytelling.
Comedy 2020 97 mins Director: Piotr Domalewski
Rebellious Polish-teen Ola sets off to Ireland to retrieve her father’s body in this piercingly resonant look at the difficulties faced by families separated by emigration.
Drama 2019 91 mins Director: Filippo Meneghetti
The love between two older women is threatened by illness and secrecy in a moving French drama that features Barbara Sukowa at her very best.
Action and Adventure 2019 105 mins Director: Stephen Maxwell Johnson
A young Indigenous man teams up with a policeman to track down a warrior outlaw in this piercing exploration of justice and morality within the Australian settlement.