It Lives Inside is a 2023 American horror film about a schoolgirl of Indian descent who must embrace her heritage to fight a demonic spirit.
Written and directed by Bishal Dutta from a story by Ashish Mehta.
The movie stars Megan Suri, Neeru Bajwa, Mohana Krishnan, Betty Gabriel, Vik Sahay and Gage Marsh.
Samidha (Megan Suri), an Indian-American teenager, lives in a seemingly idyllic suburb with her conservative mother and her assimilated father. Sam’s cultural insecurities grow due to her estranged friend, Tamira (Mohana Krishnan), who mysteriously carries around an empty mason jar all the time.
In a moment of anger, Sam breaks Tamira’s jar and unleashes an ancient Indian Hindi demonic force that kidnaps Tamira. Sam searches for Tamira, following the trail of a young man who performed a deadly ritual, until the demonic entity starts targeting her, murdering her boyfriend and shattering her reality with terrifying visions. Sam must band together with her parents and a sympathetic teacher to save Tamira and put an end to the terror of the demon…
It Lives Inside had its world premiere at the South by Southwest Film Festival on March 11, 2023. It was also shown at Fantasia and FrightFest.
The movie will be released in the UK and the US on September 22, 2023.
“It Lives Inside just drags, with little dramatic tension and scene after scene of fairly dull exposition. Maybe it’s the desire to create teen-friendly horror; the camera doesn’t linger on the various kills denying horror lovers the main reason for watching the movie in the first place, and the Pisach remains largely invisible, which removes the threat. In its place is an emphasis on torpid emotional trauma which ultimately makes Dutta’s film a rather tedious – and overlong – experience.” Bloody Flicks
“One of the most entertaining things about It Lives Inside is its portrayal of family, values and friendship. Samidha explores her own options in life but always comes back to her upbringing, family traditions and her friendship with Tamira. Though the movie takes its viewers on a terrifying journey, there’s substance to the picture that makes it stand out from your traditional horror film.” 7 out of 10, FilmBook
“It’s great that Bishal Dutta was able to get It Lives Inside made and distributed by a noteworthy studio in Neon (there are intriguing things to learn here, and Hinduism is a solid starting point for a horror movie), but taking everything infuriating about modern day horror and transferring it to a different culture and religion doesn’t mean something is refreshing; it’s still bad.” ★★ Flickering Myth
“I really wanted to connect with this story because there have been a couple of recent examples that also failed to do the same. What could have made this film special and unique was placed neatly in the story. But it was let down by the decision to take on the horror genre with already established scares and atmosphere that most fans of the subgenre are quite tired of, especially when a high percentage of them are placed in one project alone.” ★★½ Loud and Clear
“It Lives Inside offers plenty of startling jump scares and an eerie atmosphere and, considering it is PG-13, you have to wonder how much was held back when it came to the more violent deaths. But the fear or the discomfort experienced when watching this film does not just come from the featured demon, but also from the struggles of assimilation and the cringe-racism, Samidha struggles with throughout the movie.” Nightmarish Conjurings
“By the time the creature is revealed, it’s so underwhelming. There’s an effective use of practical and VFX for sure, but it leaves a lot to be desired. It doesn’t look remotely scary, which is emblematic of It Lives Inside as a whole. Bishal Dutta’s It Lives Inside means well with its earnest attempt to bring Hindu representation to American horror. Unfortunately, it suffers from frustrating execution, generic plotting, and underwhelming thrills.” ★★, Rendy Reviews
“Without dialogue that really builds characters or even tension, the cast has nothing to hold onto and delivers largely ineffective performances, forced to play the situation instead of anything else […] Dutta resorts to the same scared eyes and slow-turning heads to see what the film doesn’t really reveal until the end over and over again. I like many of the ideas in It Lives Inside, but they never got under my skin.” RogerEbert.com
“Dutta knows exactly the level he’s trying to reach here, and he definitely got there. The final reel of It Lives Inside delivers some solid scares and great creature work while still managing to ratchet up the tension and maintaining character and story integrity. The climax is a touch shaky, but there’s so much working around that one moment, that it’s easy to forgive a slight misstep.” Screen Anarchy
“Unfortunately, for a film that puts so much effort into its characters’ cultural identities, It Lives Inside isn’t as good at defining its demon […] when we first see it the Pischcha looks and acts like it came from a Japanese film […] a reminder that a horror film can have something to say without being preachy, and intelligent without being dull and elevated.” ★★★★ Voices from the Balcony
“Genuinely creepy moments and not let down by a reveal which is rare.” ★★★½ Will, Letterboxd
“There’s a monster in here” clip:
Not to be confused with the 2018 horror film of the same name.