It Lives Inside Review: Unearthing Cultural Identity and the Supernatural

Bishal Dutta‘s It Lives Inside is a supernatural thriller that explores the complex themes of identity, heritage, and the power of cultural roots. Through the story of Sam (Megan Suri), a young girl struggling to fit in at school while rejecting her Indian culture and family, the film takes viewers on a journey into the world of mythological demons and the battle to reconcile one’s heritage with the demands of contemporary life.

The Good:

It Lives Inside (2023).

The film delves into an engaging portrayal of Sam’s internal struggle. She yearns to be like her peers, to fit in seamlessly, and in doing so, she distances herself from her Indian heritage and family. Megan Suri delivers a commendable performance as Sam, effectively conveying the character’s inner turmoil and the desperation to be accepted. Her portrayal of Sam’s evolving emotions throughout the film is a testament to her acting prowess.

The supporting cast also delivers strong performances, particularly Neeru Bajwa as Poorna, Sam’s mother, who represents the cultural anchor that Sam is trying to break free from. Mohana Krishnan as Tamira adds an intriguing layer to the narrative, while Vik Sahay as Inesh and Gage Marsh as Russ provide necessary depth to the group of friends who become entangled in the supernatural events.

One of the strengths of It Lives Inside is its ability to seamlessly weave Indian mythology into the modern-day setting. The film introduces viewers to the concept of a mythological demonic spirit that latches onto individuals, wreaking havoc in their lives. This spirit, as depicted in the film, adds an eerie and captivating element to the story. The visual effects used to bring this spirit to life are impressive, and its presence throughout the film adds a palpable sense of dread.

The film’s exploration of cultural identity is its most poignant aspect. As Sam grapples with her desire to assimilate into her school’s culture, she becomes increasingly estranged from her Indian roots. This internal conflict is portrayed with nuance and sensitivity, making it relatable to anyone who has experienced the struggle between conforming to societal norms and staying true to one’s heritage.

Sam’s journey to reconnect with her heritage serves as the backbone of the film’s narrative. As she delves deeper into her culture and learns about the myths and legends that shape her family’s history, the film beautifully depicts the transformative power of embracing one’s roots. This aspect of the story is heartwarming and resonates with a universal audience.

In terms of cinematography and production design, It Lives Inside excels in creating a moody and atmospheric setting. The use of lighting and camera work effectively builds tension, and the film’s visual aesthetics contribute to its overall eerie and unsettling tone. The Indian cultural elements are also beautifully showcased through costumes and set design, providing authenticity to the story.

The film’s score, composed by Wesley Hughes, complements the visuals and adds an extra layer of suspense and emotion. The music underscores key moments in the story, enhancing the overall viewing experience.

The Bad:

It Lives Inside (2023).

However, It Lives Inside is not without its shortcomings. The pacing of the film occasionally feels uneven, with some scenes dragging on while others rush through important plot points. Additionally, the character development of Sam’s friends could have been more substantial. Their roles in the story feel somewhat underdeveloped, and their motivations remain unclear throughout.

The film’s climax, though visually striking, leaves some questions unanswered and may leave certain viewers wanting more closure. The resolution of the supernatural conflict feels somewhat abrupt, leaving room for ambiguity that might not sit well with all audience members.

While It Lives Inside successfully integrates Indian mythology into a contemporary setting, it could have delved even deeper into this rich source material. The film touches on intriguing mythological elements but doesn’t fully explore the potential complexities and depth they could have added to the narrative.


Bishal Dutta’s It Lives Inside is a thought-provoking supernatural thriller that combines elements of Indian mythology with a modern-day coming-of-age narrative. Megan Suri’s compelling performance as Sam and the film’s exploration of cultural identity are its standout features. While it falls short in terms of pacing, character development, and a slightly abrupt climax, the film successfully engages viewers in a unique blend of horror and self-discovery. It Lives Inside serves as a reminder of the importance of embracing one’s heritage while navigating the complexities of contemporary life. It’s a film that offers both chills and heartfelt moments, making it a worthwhile watch for those interested in supernatural stories with a cultural twist.

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It Lives Inside Review: Unearthing Cultural Identity and the Supernatural
  • Acting - 7/10
  • Cinematography/Visual Effects - 7.5/10
  • Plot/Screenplay - 7/10
  • Setting/Theme - 7/10
  • Watchability - 7/10
  • Rewatchability - 6/10
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About Caillou Pettis

Caillou Pettis is a professional film critic and journalist as well as the author of While You Sleep, The Inspiring World of Horror: The Movies That Influenced Generations, and co-author of Out of Time: True Paranormal Encounters. He has been writing in the entertainment industry for over seven and a half years professionally. Throughout the years, he has written articles for publications including Gold Derby, Exclaim!, CBR, Awards Radar, Awards Watch, Flickering Myth, BRWC, Starburst Magazine, Punch Drunk Critics, Mediaversity Reviews, Vinyl Chapters, Northern Transmissions, and Beats Per Minute.