American supernatural, scary movie made its debut at the South by Southwest film festival (SXSW)
A lot of new-age films by Indian-American filmmakers are exploring newer, more fresh concepts in American cinema to tell stories about immigrant lives and cultures.
And looks like, in this exploration of newer genres, a new film presents to the American audiences, a subject scarcely ever touched upon by an Indian viewpoint in the west – supernatural or horror stories originating from the Indian subcontinent.
‘It Lives Inside,’ is an American supernatural, scary movie written and directed by Bishal Datta. Indian American director Bishal Datta has made many short films and digital series.
READ: South by Southwest 2023 to host first-ever South Asian House (November 29, 2022)
His recent short film, ‘Life in Color’ was an official selection at the American Pavilion’s Emerging Filmmaker showcase at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival.
The film that introduces the concept of ‘pishaach’ or vampire to the American audiences stars Indian American actress Megan Suri, popularly known for playing the role of Aneesa, in hit teen comedy Never Have I Ever on Netflix.
The film made its debut at the 2023 South by Southwest film festival (SXSW) held in Austin, Texas each year. The film is all set to make its theatrical release across the US on Sep 22.
While the critics have given the film mixed reviews, what remains intriguing about the movie is that the film maker chose a rather infrequent subject for his movie.
While supernatural phenomena, stories and scary folklore have formed a mainstay in Indian culture and mythology, interestingly the subject has not been presented in a very interesting way even in Indian cinema.
Bollywood only boasts of a handful of horror movies that can be described as good, cinematic representation. So, to bring in the concept of bhoot, pishaach or spirits as have existed in Indian culture is a rather brave, even risky move for an emerging filmmaker.
The story of It Lives Here, revolves around Sam, an Indian American high schooler who is going through an identity crisis. She wants to reject his Indian culture and is desperate to fit in.
The quest of belonging to their adapted culture is a phenomenon that has been captured in many series and movies by Indian American filmmakers, but what sets the story apart in ‘It Lives Inside’ is the arrival of a demonic spirit or pishaach in the movie.
The pishaach latches onto Sam’s best friend. To understand this and to ward off the spirit, Sam has to now reconcile to her roots and her cultural traditions, thus opening the way for her to appreciate certain aspects of her identity.
The subject, though unusual, is one borne from Daata’s growing up years where he heard his grandfather relate stories of supernatural occurrences and instances.
The other starcast in the movie includes — Neeru Bajwa, Mohana Krishnan, Vik Sahay, Gage Marsh, Beatrice Kitsos and Betty Gabriel. The movie just released its poster.