It Lives Inside Parent Guide
This horror movie has clever ideas and a strong story but it's not very scary.
Parent Movie Review
Since she started high school, Samidha (Megan Suri) has been trying to distance herself from her friend Tamira (Mohana Krishnan), her own family, and even her name: she’s now going by Sam. After years of racist bullying, Sam just wants to fit in, and that means stepping away from her immigrant family’s culture and traditions.
As Sam struggles with her challenges, Tamira’s grapples with bigger problems, which Sam is about to understand the hard way. Tamira tries to warn her, but before Sam can figure it out, Tamira disappears, leaving behind a strange diary full of disturbing pictures. The diary’s original owner committed suicide after slaughtering his family the year before, and while that incident and Tamira’s disappearance might be related, Sam can’t figure out how… not on her own, anyway.
Clever ideas and a strong story make this one of the more engaging horror films I’ve seen this year. When it’s not about a mysterious invisible demon, the movie focuses on immigrant experiences, the difficulty of fitting in, and internalized racism. It’s a really interesting approach, and I was definitely invested in seeing where the filmmakers wanted to go next. Unfortunately, that’s where the good news ends.
The bad news is that the movie isn’t actually particularly scary. Don’t get me wrong, it has a few moments, but for the most part it falls back on some tried and true horror tropes. I’ve already seen glowing eyes in a dark room, motion-activated light scares, and plenty of demons. I will give the film credit for making a demon movie without presupposing the theological authority of the Catholic church, but at the end of the day, horror movies still need to be scary.
That said, the movie comes in at a comfortable PG-13, and parents’ biggest concerns are going to center around the violence, which can be fairly graphic at times. There’s also some scatological cursing and one scene each of teen drinking and marijuana use. So while this isn’t a great choice for kids, it’s not bad for a teen horror flick. Whether or not they pick up on the social commentary, it’s a comparatively safe option in the genre.
I enjoyed watching the film, but looking back, I’m mostly disappointed. There’s such a strong idea in here, but the film just can’t manage to flesh out (pun not intended) the horror elements of the story as successfully as it does the more personal ones. Had they pulled that off, this had a real shot at being a major standout in a genre packed to bursting with lazy stories and bland characters. It just fails the basic litmus test of horror - being scary.
Directed by Bishal Dutta. Starring Megan Suri, Neeru Bajwa, Mohana Krishnan. Running time: 99 minutes. Theatrical release September 22, 2023. Updated September 23, 2023
Watch the trailer for It Lives Inside
It Lives Inside
Rating & Content Info
Why is It Lives Inside rated PG-13? It Lives Inside is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for terror, violent content, bloody images, brief strong language and teen drug use.
Violence: Several people are slashed, bitten, and thrown around by an invisible creature, and two badly injured corpses are seen. Skin is seen blistering and burning from supernatural causes.
Sexual Content: None.
Profanity: There are eight scatological curses, infrequent uses of mild curses and terms of deity, and a single sexual expletive.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Teen characters are briefly seen drinking socially and smoking marijuana.
Page last updated September 23, 2023
It Lives Inside Parents' Guide
Why do you think Samidha is so keen to distance herself from her Indian background? Is that what causes the conflict with her mother? How do her parents differ in their approach? What kind of pressures do the children of immigrants face? What does “diaspora” mean? What does “stereotype threat” mean?
Related home video titles:
Polite Society also focuses on the experience of South Asian immigrants, mixing comedy, drama, action and some creepy elements that don’t rise to the level of horror. (It’s also a heckuva lot of fun to watch.) For a lighthearted look at the challenges faced by a South Asian teen balancing his dreams with his traditional father’s plans, you can watch Blinded by the Light.