‘It Lives Inside’ Review: Globe-Trotting Demon Bedevils a Teen in a Creepy Supernatural Tale
18.09.2023 - 08:09
Dennis Harvey Film Critic There’s a rather simplistic, retro “don’t forget where you came from” message lurking within “It Lives Inside,” suggesting that people who leave their native culture behind might well attract — or even deserve — torment from its ancient mythological spirits. But that faintly reactionary finger-wagging is subsumed by the moment-to-moment effectiveness of writer-director Bishal Dutta’s debut feature. Repping one of the better PG-13 horrors of late, it ekes sufficient menace from the familiar story gist of a consuming demonic presence passed from one beleaguered victim to another.
Though the results aren’t terribly original or memorable, they do provide a creepy 90-odd minutes. Lack of marquee names or an established franchise association won’t put this in a position to rival “The Nun II” or the imminent “Saw X” at the box office. Still, Neon’s theatrical release — six months after a well-received SXSW premiere — should do well amongst genre fans looking for some preliminary scares in the countdown to Halloween.
After a prologue detailing the final moments of a prior casualty, we meet Samidha (Megan Suri), a high-schooler living in a leafy U.S. suburb of spacious split-level homes on culs-de-sac. She lives in one such with her Indian emigre parents, whose fundamentally different attitudes towards American life carry over to their parenting.
Dad Inesh (Vik Sahay), whose evidently flourishing career occasioned this move in the first place, gauges his only child’s thoroughly Westernized style with winking approval. But mom Poona (Neeru Bajwa) still feels their “real” home is on the other side of the world. She resents her daughter’s ill-concealed lack of interest in customs, courtesies and beliefs
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