You know a horror movie is legit when spooky stuff happens on set — and that was definitely the case with It Lives Inside.
Megan Suri, who plays the film’s main character, said that things once got so scary her costar Betty Gabriel had trouble sleeping. “On the first day when Betty was filming in the mirror scene toward the end, the mirror cracked,” Suri, 24, exclusively told Us Weekly ahead of the movie’s release. “It was a set mirror and it cracked. We were filming this in a church, mind you. In a church! It cracked.”
The following day, a fire broke out near the school where the cast was filming. Because the number seven plays a prominent role in the movie, Suri briefly wondered whether five more weird things would happen, but fortunately the drama stopped with the fire.
While Suri recalls those two experiences as “really creepy,” she otherwise had a blast making It Lives Inside, which hits theaters on Friday, September 22. Written and directed by Bishal Dutta, the movie follows Sam (Suri), an Indian American high school student who struggles to embrace her family’s heritage. When her best friend is possessed by a demon, though, Sam must look to her mother for help — and embrace the parts of herself she’d been trying to hide.
“I felt very connected to Sam,” explained Suri, who was born in California but spent two and a half years living in India. “I remember coming back and having to assimilate and having to unlearn some things that I had learned and having to just sort of fit in.”
Suri didn’t have to deal with demonic possession during her own high school years, but she could relate to the feelings of self-consciousness Sam struggles with as she gets ready for college. “I’m still dealing with it now, and I don’t think it ever really goes away until you just work on it,” she told Us. “Am I going to be successful? Am I going to achieve the things that I’ve set for myself? Am I going to pass this chemistry test? (And I did not.) If I could go back to my younger self, I think I would just tell her to relax. It’s not that deep, and I promise no one’s going to remember or care. It’s not going to be relevant. Just live your life. Enjoy it. I’m trying to tell myself that today, every day.”
It Lives Inside — which received an interim agreement from SAG-AFTRA during the strike — is Suri’s first true horror role. Never Have I Ever fans may recognize her as Devi’s frenemy Aneesa, but she’s a longtime fan of less bubbly fare. Her love affair with all things spooky began when she saw Jeepers Creepers at the tender age of 6. “I shouldn’t have been watching that at 6 years old, but we did,” she said. “I would stand in the hallway and just whisper the ‘Jeepers Creepers’ song. … I was a weird kid. Still am!”
More recently, Suri found herself frightened by Paranormal Activity and the 2017 adaptation of Stephen King’s It. The latter she saw at 18, but she was still scared witless. “The only way that I was able to fall asleep was I told myself that It only gets children, and I’m 18 years old so he won’t get me,” she recalled with a laugh. “‘I’m an adult legally,’ and that’s legitimately how I was able to rock myself to sleep.”
Suri, a self-described adrenaline junkie, loves horror for the scares, of course, but she also appreciates the way it’s able to explore weightier themes, as It Lives Inside does. “Horror is such an underrated genre in the sense that everyone thinks that it’s not a genre to be taken seriously,” she explained. “But I think that the beauty of horror is that it’s an opportunity to explore very deep and very real concepts, but make them entertaining in a way that sticks with you … that you remember for a very long time.”
It Lives Inside premieres in theaters on Friday, September 22.