Newspaper that inspires change. Breaking stories that shake the world. Be informed, Don't Settle for Fake News.

feat shape 1
feat shape 2
feat shape 3

Movie Review: An immigrant teen who wants to fit in enters a nightmare in It Lives Inside - Sentinel Colorado

"It Lives Inside" is a new horror film that explores the immigrant experience through the lens of a demon terrorizing a suburban community.

"It Lives Inside" is a breath of fresh air in the horror genre, offering a unique and promising experience that sets it apart from the usual franchises that dominate theaters. Directed by Bishal Dutta and co-written with Ashish Mehta, the film introduces us to Samidha (Megan Suri), a beautiful Indian American teenager who simply wants to fit in with her suburban classmates. However, her desire for acceptance is overshadowed by a literal monster that terrorizes her and those who try to help her. In many ways, the film serves as a metaphor for the immigrant experience, highlighting the challenges and dangers faced by those trying to find their place in a new country.

Dutta's feature debut is an effectively menacing nail-biter, with a PG-13 rating that allows for a wider audience to experience the thrills. The film centers around the dynamics of an Indian American family, particularly the conflicting views of Samidha and her mother, Poorna (Neeru Bajwa). While Poorna is determined to uphold the traditions of their homeland, Samidha rebels against them, supported by her father. She embraces Western customs, such as shaving her arms and posting carefully filtered selfies, while resenting the Indian customs and holidays that prevent her from fully assimilating. She even distances herself from her old best friend, Tamira (Mohana Krishnan), in an attempt to blend in and shed her identity as the "Indian girl." In essence, Samidha is just a normal teenager trying to find her place in the world.

Unfortunately, Tamira has become increasingly strange, lurking around school with unkempt hair and clutching a mysterious Mason jar. This odd behavior becomes even more alarming when it is revealed that the jar contains the very monster that haunts Samidha's life. The film wastes no time in getting the audience's heart rate up, starting with a creepy prologue that sets the tone for the rest of the story. However, despite its initial promise, the film struggles to maintain a consistent tone throughout. It oscillates between moody paranoia reminiscent of "Stranger Things" and typical jump-scares and demonic visions. While it may startle and spook viewers, it fails to deliver a truly original experience, which is surprising given the unique threat it focuses on.

The parents in the film also prove to be confounding and frustrating characters. As Samidha becomes increasingly paranoid and scared after witnessing a classmate's shocking death, her parents respond as if she is merely a delinquent who has broken curfew or skipped school. This lack of understanding and support adds to the tension and isolation Samidha feels. The only person who seems to genuinely care and listen to her is her teacher, played by Betty Gabriel of "Get Out" fame. However, this puts her at odds with the vindictive and flesh-eating Pishacha, the monster that lurks within the jar.

Despite its flaws, "It Lives Inside" is a refreshing addition to the horror genre, offering new faces, themes, and a promising filmmaker to watch. However, it falls short of fully embracing its unique qualities and instead tries to conform to the expectations of its genre. This is reminiscent of Samidha's own struggle to fit in while retaining her individuality. Ultimately, the film serves as a welcome respite from the usual horror franchises that dominate theaters, but it could have been even more impactful if it had fully embraced its distinctiveness.

"It Lives Inside," distributed by Neon, hits theaters on Friday and is rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association for "teen drug use, brief strong language, bloody images, terror, violent content." With a running time of 99 minutes, the film receives two out of four stars.

Share With Others

Comments on Movie Review: An immigrant teen who wants to fit in enters a nightmare in It Lives Inside - Sentinel Colorado