Trap it. Feed it. Don’t let it out. (And while you’re at it, don’t go to bed angry.) Get ready for It Lives Inside.
The new horror film follows Sam (Megan Suri), an Indian-American teenager struggling with her cultural identity. When Sam has a falling out with her former best friend Tamira (Mohana Krishnan), she unwittingly releases a demonic entity that grows stronger by feeding on her loneliness.
The film comes from writer/director Bishal Dutta.
It Lives Inside delivers a good mix of scares
One thing I appreciate about It Lives Inside is that the movie gets to the scares early on. When Tamira first appears with her creepy jar, I thought for sure we would spend half the film just alluding to what’s inside the jar and what it’s doing to her. Instead, we cross that hurdle pretty quickly, which helps keep the pace of the film moving along nicely.
Overall, It Lives Inside gives viewers a solid blend of horror tropes throughout to feed your craving for scares. We’ve got an invisible demonic presence, creepy drawings, haunted dreams, a little body horror, mirror scares, monsters in closets, jump scares… you get the picture! There’s some nice moments of tension-building throughout, but this is also a movie where things happen. (If you hate horror movies where nothing really happens until the very end, It Lives Inside is NOT that movie.)
As for the demon itself, I have some mixed feelings. It does feel powerful and dangerous, which does a lot to add to the scare factor. So does the invisibility element. But I think the movie reveals its physical form a bit too soon; delaying until the “final showdown” moment probably would have made it more impactful.
PSA: Please tell someone when you’re fighting a demon
That said, one of my biggest complaints about It Lives Inside is that it falls back on one of my least favorite tropes ever: the “if I just said something to someone about this, nothing would have escalated this far” approach.
The teen angst in this movie is laid on pretty thick. Basically, Sam is mad at her mom, so she doesn’t tell her about any of the terrifying things happening. Sam insists that her mom “wouldn’t believe her,” but that doesn’t really make sense for what we know about them. Near the beginning of the movie Sam’s family hosts a religious ceremony meant to pay tribute to someone who defeated a demon. Later, Sam makes references to the stories about demons told by relatives to her mom when she was growing up.
I’m not saying acknowledging evil in religion and in stories means you have to believe in real-life demons… but it does seem like it wouldn’t be totally out of left field. (Also, the fact that one teen has gone missing and another has died an unexplained death seem like pretty convincing factors that something bad is going on.)
Ultimately, talking honestly with her mom gives Sam the key information she needs to fight the demon. Which makes sense… but there’s no real reason this conversation couldn’t have happened at the beginning of the story.
Bad communication trope aside, It Lives Inside is a solid horror flick that brings a lot of different types of scares to the table. If you’re a horror fan, this one’s worth checking out.
It Lives Inside premieres in theaters September 22.