November 3, 2023


2023 / 99 min
Available at
Review by Josey, the Sudden Cat🙀

If released a few decades ago, It Lives Inside might have been something really special, back when this road was a little less traveled. The film is very well made, atmospheric and even throws in some perceptive social commentary, but there aren’t a hell of a lot of surprises.

Samidha (Megan Suri) is the teenage daughter of Indian immigrants and tends to forsake her own culture to try and fit in with her peers, which doesn’t sit well with her traditionalist mother, Poorna (Neeru Bajwa). Samidha (“Sam”) has also distanced herself from childhood friend Tamira (Mohana Krishnan), at least until Tamira reaches out to her, terrified and claiming she’s got a demonic entity tapped inside a jar. She also has the tattered journal of a boy who allegedly murdered his parents before killing himself.

Naturally, the jar breaks and unleashes Pishach, a soul-eating demon the girls used to hear about in childhood stories. After it abducts Temira, Sam uses the journal to figure out what’s happening and try to save her before it can devour her soul completely, though it’s ultimately Poorna who might have her answers. Meanwhile, Pishach terrorizes Sam and anyone who tries to help her contain it. 

"It's your turn to push me."
It Lives Inside is conceptually derivative of Ringu and other movies of its ilk, especially regarding the limited number of days one has before their soul is eaten. But Pishach itself is indeed part of real Hindu folklore, which is a nice touch when you consider the film’s underlying themes of tradition and identity. I just wish more was done to make it a bit more than just another impressive looking CG monster.

Still, the film puts a unique cultural spin on a familiar premise. For his feature film debut, Bishal Dutta manages thrown in some eerie sequences that may not be all that scary, but certainly reflect the story’s dark tone.

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