An Indian-American teenager struggling with her cultural identity has a falling out with her former best friend and, in the process, unwittingly releases a demonic entity that grows stronger by feeding on her loneliness.
Megan Suri (Atypical), who is most known for playing Aneesa in the Netflix adolescent comedy series Never Have I Ever, plays the main character Samidha in It Lives Inside. Neeru Bajwa (Jatt & Juliet) and Mohana Krishnan (I Am Frankie) also appear in the horror film. The “Midnighters Award” was given to It Lives Inside at the 2023 SXSW Film Festival in Austin, Texas. The film is Written by Bishal Dutta and Ashish Mehta and directed as well by Dutta.
It Lives Inside is well-filmed and carefully crafted. It’s faithful to the lore from which the entity comes and the special effects and cinematography make the film’s terrifying moments rather visceral and vivid. It’s well made and scary when it needs to be, personal and cultural when not. It’s a window into a struggle few will ever fully understand and the film—ultimately—fulfils what it sets out to accomplish.
I feel like the poor audience reception is—for the most part—unwarranted. The acting was good, the effects were great, the creature was more than terrifying, and the plot was pretty standard fair when it comes to films of this type. I’d venture as far to say that it was better than some comparable titles. The pacing could have done with a little push but otherwise, there is little to fault.
If we had to pull out our imaginary horror checklist, we’d definitely check off most of what would be on that bit of board. All of the elements of what makes a decent—albeit not phenomenal—horror movie are there. I personally enjoy films that focus their viewpoint through the lens of a culture and country that I know little about and It Lives Inside works both as a horror and a social commentary.
The cultural dilemma that It Lives Inside delves into is far from hidden. We have Samidha trying to live in both worlds; trying to be respectful of her Indian heritage but also dying to be part of and amalgamated into the American culture within which she lives. She does not want to be seen as an outsider.
Samidha shuns her childhood friend for this exact purpose, a cold act which acts as the catalyst for the terror that later follows; an obvious analogy for the consequences of denying one’s true identity. While I may not wholeheartedly agree with the message the film proposes, I did enjoy the way in which the story was told and the characters were portrayed, particularly that of Samidha’s father.
In conclusion, I’d absolutely suggest that this title be added to your Halloween watchlist. It’ll be especially exciting for the more casual viewer and something with a bit more spice for those more seasoned horror veterans. Thanks for reading and as always, stay sordid. It Lives Inside is coming to UK Cinemas from 20th October. Thanks for reading and as always, stay sordid. The trailer and poster are below.
Site founder. Horror enthusiast. Metalhead.