13th Sep2018

‘It Lives Inside’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Rett Terrell, Alissa Ford, Liam Rose, Laurie Cummings, Christian R. Black, Bill Brewer, Philip W. Paz, Justin Hendrix, Briana Looby, Reese Hollingsworth, Dawnavan Crawford | Written and Directed by Jeff Hall

ItLivesInside-art

What happens when you take the Necronomicon from the Evil Dead, combined with the domestic setting of The Amityville Horror, the madness of Jack Torrance in The Shining and have no budget to play with? It Lives Inside… that’s what.

After opening with an 1800s set flashback  – in which a settler is possessed by black smoke and kills everyone at his camp – It Lives Inside goes on to tell the story a man and his wife (who, may I add, are actually never named – not even in the credits or on IMDb) who move into a new home where the man, a chronic sleepwalker, finds a mysterious book in the attic that foretells his impending demonic possession. He then struggles to hold his family together as the ancient evil threatens to consume everything he holds dear…. See what I mean about Evil Dead and Amityville Horror?

Only It Lives Inside has the budget of a school play; and is made with the same kinds of production levels!

Spending the majority of its runtime focusing on the man, whose left home alone with his son, a toddler, following an accident It Lives Inside is more domestic drama than horror. The kind of film that actually would justify non-horror fans watching it and saying “Oh, this isn’t a horror film, its a drama with scary parts” because that’s EXACTLY what this film is.

Though to be fair to the filmmakers that might have been what they were going for – less of a horror film and more of one where you didn’t know, until the final chapter of the movie, if the protagonist was actually undergoing demonic possession or if he was just going stir-crazy being left alone at home all day with a child and a broken leg – in much the same way that Kubrick approached The Shining‘s Jack Torrance: is he a madman or a [literal] monster?

If that’s the case I have one question. What the hell is with the artwork for this film? It has absolutely NOTHING to do with the movie – in fact its a father who suffers the “possession” and its he who bleeds from the face. Only its his nose and mouth not the eyes… No idea why the film is advertised with that image. Then again, until the films release last week on DVD, It Lives Inside wasn’t even listed on IMDb! Put two and two together and you realise what kind of a movie you’re dealing with here – one that has been marketed under false pretences to get suckers to buy it at their local supermarket without knowing what’s to come… A long-standing DTV trait these days, amiright?

There are a couple of redeemable things about It Lives Inside: a brief scene in which our protagonist, lying on the floor, is grabbed by hands coming out of the floor and the reveal of the big bad haunting the home – which totally spoils the ambiguity of what has come before… or does it? Given how the film ends I don’t think even the audience can trust what we’ve seen. But other than those this film is very much a case of been there, seen that.

If you want to watch a movie about demonic possession and familial breakdowns, I’d recommend my favourite of the Amityville series, Amityville 2, over this anyday. Hell, I’d recommend ANY Amityville franchise entry, even part 4 with its possessed lamp, over this!

It Lives Inside is out now, in the US, on DVD and Digital from High Octane Pictures.

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