In his directorial debut, Bishal Dutta dives into the supernatural with “It Lives Inside,” a horror film that intertwines cultural identity and demonic elements. The story kicks off in a tense locker room confrontation between two teenage girls, Samidha, or “Sam,” played by Megan Suri, and Tamira, portrayed by Mohana Krishnan, in a predominantly white suburban high school. Sam tries to assimilate with her American classmates, distancing herself from her Indian heritage, while Tamira embraces her outsider status but is troubled by an otherworldly force.
Co-written by Dutta and Ashish Mehta, the film offers a nuanced take on the isolation often felt by immigrants. While other films have ventured into this territory, “It Lives Inside” zeroes in on the deteriorating friendship between Sam and Tamira to express these themes. The girls deliver compelling performances that avoid cliches, with Suri particularly effective in conveying complex emotions.
However, the movie loses some of its initial magic as it progresses. Dutta’s narrative falters in keeping its ambitious promises, sidetracking into undercooked romantic arcs and offering only a surface-level exploration of complex immigrant experiences. The absence of detailed character development weakens the film’s overall impact.
Nevertheless, the film is noteworthy for how it intricately connects the girls’ relationship with elements of Hindu lore. Despite its shortcomings, “It Lives Inside” bravely confronts questions about cultural assimilation while offering an unsettling layer of horror. Although not entirely successful, the film is a noteworthy addition to the genre, particularly for those interested in horror stories that transcend conventional scares to address broader societal issues. Source