This Indian Demon Movie Proves Scary Is Scary In Any Culture [SXSW 2023]

Dutta and credited story creator Ashish Mehta introduce American audiences to an Indian demon called “Pishach”, defined as a soul eater. While the malevolent entity’s appearance is held back for the third-act reveal, there’s still danger from the moment Sam avoids Tamira’s babble about Indian folktales and smashes her pot engraved with protective language. . “It Lives Inside” first employs an unseen figure responsible for a gnarly swing scene where the Pishach viciously attacks, becomes more prominent as a Freddy Krueger-type who invades Sam’s nightmare with chilling “The Ring” similarities. , then the big monster reveal shows the Pishach being crafted from jagged-toothed creature molds like in “Feast.” We’ve seen these techniques revamped by countless horror filmmakers, making Dutta the latest, but his execution displays consistent vision and mastery. Recreation isn’t a crime as long as the execution is right, which Dutta assures, because scares are as confident as the writer and director behind the camera.

The composure is a key attraction of “It Lives Inside,” whether it’s Matthew Lynn’s warping cinematography that swirls around to portray shattered lives or thick shadowy lighting that nails alarming atmospheres. Dutta recognizes how appealing, sonorous and terrifying horror films are, which “It Lives Inside” replicates in stride. Sam and Poorna’s disenchantment as a rebellious teenager fights for independence is as polished an arc as Sam and Russ’ teenage romance or Mr. Pishach’s range of boogeyman tricks, eyes peering through the darkness at bite marks piercing the flesh.

But there’s still a ceiling on Sam’s dangerous relationship with Pishach as the experience feels too long and a little underwhelming. Dutta telegraphs much of “It Lives Inside” because it’s less about the destination and more about commentary on the journey, which still lacks a bit of scripted suspense. An hour and forty-minute production begs to be a tight ninety instead, dragging on as the unseen version of the Pishach dominates screen time before the physical beast enters frame . The movie is at its best at the scariest moments, like when Sam’s worried teacher Joyce (Betty Gabriel) strays from Pishach’s “Lights Out” style, which becomes apparent as the buildup can linger. between high adrenaline altercations.

A good horror movie like “It Lives Inside” hits the mark, even if it’s not super hearty. Bishal Dutta breaks boundaries with a demonic coming-of-age story that is as introspective as it is violently aggressive. Any comparison to “The Ring” or “Lights Out” is not meant to be a shrug of something done better elsewhere – art in any medium influences creators in the future . Dutta never shy away from building on what’s been scary for decades, what he gets away with because of the craftsmanship on display. Lesser filmmakers wouldn’t get such graces.

/Movie rating: 7.5 out of 10


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