2023 99 mins
Subtitles : English
“A captivating new spin on demonic horror” – Meagan Navarro, BLOODY DISGUSTING
“Combines the immigrant experience, the ties that keep us connected to our heritage (whether we like it or not), and a good, old-fashioned creature feature in a way that feels authentic and entertaining” – J Hurtado, SCREEN ANARCHY
Indian-American teenager Samidha (Megan Suri) is feeling torn between two environments where all isn’t entirely well: home, where she’s pressured by her traditionalist mother Poorna (Neeru 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 (Mohana 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.
A skillful meshing of the tensions of the immigrant experience with supernatural horror, IT LIVES INSIDE
is an impressive feature debut feature from director and co-writer Bishal Dutta. Working from a story he wrote with Ashish Mehta, he hits us with an arresting, red-lit prologue before settling into an affecting study of a girl anxious to join her classmates at parties, but expected to take part in the Durga Puja, an Indian religious gathering. As the dark side of the folklore Sam was raised with begins creeping into her life, inescapable both at school and at home, Dutta builds from eerie suggestion (including a literally hair-raising early moment) to explicit demonic terror, all finely crafted and very well-acted. Culturally specific yet entirely accessible, IT LIVES INSIDE
has already won SXSW’s Midnighter Audience Award and is ready to break out and grab further appreciative audiences. – Michael Gingold