Lucky tells the story of May (Brea Grant), a self-help writer who’s trying to work on her next book whilst also juggling the pressures of the book signing and talk circuit, as well as dealing with a marriage that is struggling somewhat. When one night she notices a strange masked man outside her home she turns to her husband, Ted (Dhruv Uday Singh) who calmly tells her that it’s the man who breaks into their home every night and tries to kill them – as if it’s no stranger than seeing a neighbour’s cat walking through your garden.
Obviously, May is shocked at this news, and when the man comes inside looking to hurt her she’s forced to fight for her life, injuring him in the process. But when she goes to get help he vanishes. When she tries to report this to the police no one seems to care, even her husband doesn’t seem bothered by it. Thus begins a cycle of May having to fight against this masked assailant each and every night, whilst those around her treat her as either crazy or simply overreacting.
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Lucky seems to want to tell a story about the way that women in society can be targeted by men, and have violence thrust upon them as an almost every day occurrence. This doesn’t have to be literally men in masks coming into your home to kill you, but the small microaggressions that women have to live with as part of their everyday lives; of a world where women are seen as weaker, submissive, and often treated as lesser. This becomes clearer as the film progresses and we see more of May’s interactions with people in authority, such as police officers and social workers, who seem to dismiss her concerns out of hand, and try to find other explanations for her troubles – ones that she’s the root cause of.
Because of all this May ends up becoming a very isolated figure, even though she does occasionally turn to others to help, more often other women. But, these women don’t help her much, and often seem distant. This kind of ties into another theme of the film, ‘going it alone’. Which is incidentally the title of May’s book, and the message she’s giving other women. There are some hints that perhaps this is also part of the problem, that women are being told to go it alone, to only rely on themselves, so when they do need help, or can help others they don’t, which leaves them to become victims of male violence. This seems to be heavily hinted at during the latter stages of the film where we see things from a broader perspective than just May’s problems.
Lucky manages to entertain and engage, probably due in large part to Brea Grant, who not only plays the lead character, but also wrote the film. You get a sense that this project meant something to her, and that she’s giving a lot of herself over to the role. Some of the other performances at first seem to be a lot flatter than hers, and sometimes even a little wooden, but as the film progresses and things become a little more surreal you begin to suspect that perhaps this is intentional, and that as this is May’s story she doesn’t see anyone else as real players in it, leading to them feeling like barely-there side characters rather than real people who actually play a part in her narrative.
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Director Natasha Kermani does a good job of walking this fine line between the mundane and the surreal, and I think she really improves as the film goes on and things begin to take on a more dream-like quality, with jumps in the narrative and reality that doesn’t quite line up correctly. Some directors might have struggled with translating this script, but Kermani does a good job of walking the line between boring reality, and the surreal dream.
Lucky is an odd film, one that might not be to everyone’s tastes. But if you want something different from your standard horror fare this film is definitely worth a shot.
Lucky premieres exclusively on Shudder on 4th March.