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.
Science Fiction 2019 98 mins Director: Lorcan Finnegan
Imogen Poots and Jesse Eisenberg play a pair of first-time buyers who get more than they bargained for in this twisted fable about the horrors of suburban living.
Comedy 1986 94 mins Director: Frank Oz
Frank Oz's vivid adaptation of the cult sci-fi musical, with Rick Moranis as a flower-shop assistant battling a 'Mean Green Mother from Outer Space'.
Drama 2018 88 mins Director: Adrian Panek
Children liberated from a Nazi concentration camp have to overcome hunger, thirst and vicious dogs in this chilling postwar thriller.
Horror 1973 88 mins Director: Robin Hardy
Christopher Lee and Edward Woodward star in the folk horror classic about a policemen investigating an island given over to paganism.
Horror 1999 81 mins Director: Eduardo Sanchez
Three student filmmakers attempt to make a documentary about a local urban legend, in this terrifying and groundbreaking pioneer of the ‘found-footage’ genre.
Horror 1980 144 mins Director: Stanley Kubrick
Jack Nicholson revels in his terrifying performance as Jack Torrance, the would-be writer who becomes the minotaur trapped in Kubrick’s supernatural maze.
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.
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).
Comedy 2014 108 mins Director: Justin Simien
The diversification of an all-black residence hall forces a group of African-American university students to take a stand on their own cultural beliefs and identities.
Historical drama 2019 126 mins Director: Todd Haynes
Mark Ruffalo plays an attorney trying to uncover the corporate scandal of a chemical company poisoning a local community, in this searching ecological drama from Todd Haynes (Safe, Carol).
Drama 2019 89 mins Director: Werner Herzog
Werner Herzog is on typically thought-provoking form, dramatising the work of a ‘rent-a-relative’ service, in this Tokyo-set meditation on contemporary alienation.
Drama 2019 109 mins Director: Hlynur Pálmason
Iceland’s finest actor Ingvar Sigurðsson gives a heart-breaking and Cannes award-winning performance as widowed cop who becomes increasingly obsessed with his wife’s death.
Documentary 2020 97 mins Director: Kirby Dick
A searing exploration of the costs of coming forward, turning up the volume on one of the biggest #MeToo stories in the music industry.
Drama 2019 112 mins Director: Thomas Clay
The wife of a puritanical farmer seems resigned to her lot, until she has her head turned by the arrival of a young couple in Thomas Clay’s provocative period drama.