It Lives Inside – REVIEW

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It Lives Inside - An Asian 'Get Out' maybe?

Schooldays are often described as the happiest days of your life and for most of us they are although our Editor could never understand why the back of his school blazer was covered in gob at the end of each day. For Samidha (Megan Suri), an Indian girl in a predominantly white school, and keen to assimilate and only too happy for her school mates to call her Sam and yet at home her mother maintains a traditional  lifestyle insisting on her daughter doing the same. It Lives Inside plays on the clash of cultures and Sam’s cause is hardly helped by her now former friend Tamira’s odd behaviour  moping about the school clutching a jar of ashes and understandably ostracised by the other girls in her year.

It soon becomes clear that Tamira’s behaviour is odd as seen when she pushes meat into a vessel of ashes in a way not seen since the honeymoon night of Joan Collins most recent husband. But Tamira is feeding a flesh eating demon that is isolating her from others and is the films central metaphor for the immigrant experience. It’s only when Sam is cornered by Tamira and her jar of ashes and a story of a demon within the jar, (the ‘It Lives Inside’ of the title) which is accidently smashed and the demon and all hell is unleashed as Tamira goes missing shortly afterwards. Its Sam who now finds herself in danger, haunted and stalked by the demon and disbelieved by her teachers only to find it is her mother who holds the key to what is going on.

Written and directed by Bishal Dutta in his debut feature It Lives Inside draws on a cultural heritage that is ripe for this type of horror with subtext. Its influence from films such as The Babadook, The Ring and others is apparent and many of the best moments keep the monster hidden relying on framing, dark corners and shadows for its most effective moments and whilst the jump scares rarely make you jump, the set pieces are effectively creepy. It’s not a perfect script though – It wants to be an Asian Get Out but the integration subtext is thin, when characters are murdered there’s a complete absence of any police involvement and the film is a little overlong especially the climactic scene. But as a calling card for further films in the genre it shows promise if only Dutta allows another to script or at least co-write.

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Here’s the it Lives Inside trailer…..

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