Neon and Elevation Picture’s It Lives Inside, a debut film from writer and director Bishal Dutta, has made an impact in its rounds at big-name festivals with its Quebec premiere at the Fantasia International Film Festival. The supernatural horror title was co-written alongside Dutta by Mehta Ashish. The cast includes Megan Suri, Neeru Bajwa, Mohana Krishnan, Sahay Vik, Beatrice Kitsos, Betty Gabriel, and Gage Marsh. It Lives Inside arrives in theaters on September 22.
The Plot of It Lives Inside
Indian-American teenager Samidha (Suri) is feeling torn between two environments where all isn’t entirely well: home, where she’s pressured by her traditionalist mother Poorna (Bajwa), and school, where she doesn’t quite fit in and is subject to microaggressions even from her friends. Her heritage and her present collide when her childhood friend Tamira (Krishnan), who has lately been acting strange and distant, confronts her bearing a mason jar.
Something lives inside that jar — something hungry that has Tamira terrified. She tells Sam that the stories of demons they heard as kids are true, and Sam discovers just how right Tamira is when the thing escapes its glass captivity, invades Sam’s life, and threatens everyone she loves.
It Lives Inside dives into a world I’m not familiar with and features problems I cannot personally relate to, but at its core, it encapsulates the very best parts of the horror genre. In addition, this film elevates the horror genre with its unique storytelling and originality. The background and information regarding the evil coming for Samidha are explained but not overdone. There isn’t any effort to simplify or make what’s being shown easier to digest for those not familiar with Hindi culture.
I experienced a great sense of happiness upon realizing that It Lives Inside did not rely on loud sounds for jump scares like many others do. The score and sound mixing was phenomenal and heightened the strength of every scene and nightmare-fueled encounter. Silent moments held significant importance in the movie, particularly the ones shared between Samidha and her mother. This was a horror film that depended upon the element of sound to amp up the tension for a monstrous reveal. It took the sound and crafted demonic encounters into moments of unnerving terror.
The recurring themes of destruction and isolation were very impactful. It Lives Inside explores various emotions related to cultural experiences and common fears that people share universally. Make sure to look into writers with personal connections to Hindi culture and experiences. I’m not the one to speak on the validity of those specifics, but I will say this film went into a larger discussion with a unique and powerful lens. The horror genre can be frightening not only in its concepts but also in its ability to tug at our emotions. This particular film achieved both, leaving a lasting impact.
Not much felt off or incomplete in It Lives Inside. Even the ending, which is something already difficult to pull off in a horror film, was simple yet deeply unsettling. Scenes portraying the entity contained moments of evil and darkness that echoed within chambers of light. The performances were captivating and completely engrossing. The casting team deserves a round of applause for their excellent work. This was a terrifying story filled with dread from start to finish. Creepy is an understatement, this movie had a profound impact and stayed with you throughout the entire experience.
There was excitement radiating from within after watching this supernatural horror. A feeling of excitement that comes from rediscovering a love for a particular genre was experienced. Rest assured that there will be an abundance of discussions, papers, and dialogues about this film shortly. It would be a colossal failure for the horror genre if such conversations fail to transpire.
‘It Lives Inside’ Review Score: