Under the Shadow takes a familiar horror story and gives it a unique backdrop: the Iran-Iraq war, which dominated that region for most of the 1980s. Here, we experience it from a Tehran apartment building, where Shideh (Narges Rashidi) and her young daughter Dorsa (Avin Manshadi) have hunkered down to weather a series of missile attacks. At the same time, Shideh is struggling with her own ambivalence as a parent—particularly one who would prefer to be pursuing a degree as a doctor but has been told that her place is at home. When Dorsa claims that she sees strange figures in the building—she claims they’re djinn, or malevolent genies—real terror and imagined terror begin to merge. Movies like Dark Water, The Conjuring, and The Babadook have similarly sought to explore the psychology of motherhood in horror terms, and Under the Shadow is a strong addition to the mix. Written and directed by Babak Anvari, the movie is a particularly slow boil in terms of suspense and nowhere near as formally inventive as The Babadook, my favorite of the bunch. But it works itself up into a fine froth by the climax, and even manages to score some political points against the repressive Iranian regime in the process. Apparently women should be covered at all times, even if djinn are chasing them.