It Lives Inside Movie Explained: What’s Up With the Ending?

On March 14, the supernatural horror film “The Conjuring” began rolling out in cinemas. Kingdom of Darkness.” This is the feature-length debut of American director with Indian roots Bishal Dutta. The film has nothing to do with James Wan’s famous horror franchise, which began with The Conjuring (2013), but received Raymond Mansfield and Sean McKittrick from Jordan Peele’s acclaimed Get Out as producers, as the inscription on the official poster proudly announces. In the review below we tell you what techniques the young debutant Dutta uses and what exactly he is trying to convey to the viewer.


an attempt not only to scare, but also to broadcast an acutely social statement; the monster looks convincing; several exciting scenes in which you really care about the fate of the characters


an exorbitant number of typical genre tropes and techniques; the features of Indian culture are poorly represented; Overall, the sluggish slow burner storytelling doesn’t do any good;

“Spell. Kingdom of Darkness / It Lives Inside

Genre supernatural horror film
Directed by Bishal Dutta
Starring Megan Suri, Neeru Bajwa, Moghana Krishnan, Betty Gabriel, Vik Sahai
Premiere cinemas
Year of release 2023
IMDb website

Young Samidha is the daughter of Indian immigrants who moved to a cozy suburb in the United States. The girl is not very interested in the Hindu rituals imposed by her mother, and in general, it seems, she does not want anything to do with what emphasizes her national identity. Samidha stopped being friends with her fellow countrywoman Tamira, who became a strange school outcast, whom everyone avoids, and focused on friendship with local teenagers.

One day, Tamira, clearly alarmed by something, with a can in her hands, asks her ex-friend for help. She incomprehensibly tries to explain that she is being pursued by a mysterious force that she cannot cope with alone. But Samidha, far from understanding the situation, breaks the jar, concluding that her classmate has simply gone crazy. However, this act does not remain without consequences: Tamira instantly disappears, and Samidha, meanwhile, is convinced from her own experience that the dark force has already turned its attention to her. The young director Bishal Datta admitted in one of his interviews that after moving at the age of 4 from India to North America paid a lot of attention to American horror films. And this is noticeable while watching. In his feature-length debut, Dutta tries to balance on the brink of a teenage auteur horror in the spirit of David Robert Mitchell’s It (the projects also have the same original titles – It Follows / It Lives Inside) and a purely genre product with a mythological boogeyman hiding in a dark closet. Unfortunately, there was neither an interesting, acutely social statement nor a frightening horror film here.

Even at the very beginning, it becomes clear that the main character will eventually take the place of the unfortunate Tamira. Added to this predictability is the fact that “The Conjuring. The Kingdom of Darkness” is literally packed with typical genre tropes.

We bend our fingers. A tattered notebook with dark fine art – yes. There is an old abandoned house with a dark basement. The above-mentioned “monster in the closet” technique was actually spoiled in the trailer. Corridor play with light – please. The plot device “you see a monster that others don’t see and because of this you are considered crazy” – get it and sign it.

The authors use these ancient cliches not so much to scare (we still need to look for such lazy jumpscares), but to reveal the main theme. Namely, the search for self-identification and integration of Indian immigrants into an alien space, that is, into American society.

The behavior of Samidhi looks eloquent here, as she tries in every possible way to forget about her national identity and be like everyone else; as well as an extremely expressive scene where an Indian family is subjected to the judgmental gaze of others.

It’s a pity that Dutta and his creative team failed to frame their message either in a powerful auteur cinema, or at least wrap it in a bright package of an exciting genre product.

The problem is that the Indian national color actually plays a very important role in this story, but takes up unforgivably little film space. And yet another, albeit metaphorical, monster from the closet remains a monster from the closet, which we have already seen a hundred times. The abuse of such a blatantly standard means of expressing mood as rain does not add points to the piggy bank. Here it practically does not subside.

Somewhat unexpectedly, Dutta turns to the style of classic J-horror films like “The Ring” or “The Grudge,” when a well-recognized scene with a distorted woman with long black hair appears on the screen. But her unreasonable presence smacks of the director’s desire to cram more of everything into the story. The obvious limited budget does not help either: it was only enough for one single teacher, sitting in a usually empty school building.

The monster itself (here it is the Pishacha demon from Indian mythology) turned out to be quite convincing and is very reminiscent of Regenerador from the final part of Poul Anderson’s “Resident Evil”. However, no matter how vile the local creation of the imagination of the film’s authors turned out to be, all this was intended primarily as a demonstration of the fight against internal demons. And their power, as we know, is truly destructive, unlike those rooted in myths.


“Spell. The Kingdom of Darkness”, unfortunately, does not use its potential, and attempts to immerse itself in social implications pale against the backdrop of a pile of boring genre clichés.

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