It may not seem it at first glance, but Natasha Kermani’s Lucky is an angry film that challenges its audience while still wearing its heart firmly on its bloody sleeve. A sharp film that makes it’s presence felt.
Life takes a sudden turn for May (Brea Grant), a popular self-help book author when she finds herself the target of a mysterious man with murderous intentions. Every night, without fail, he comes after her, and every day the people around her barely seem to notice. With no one to turn to, May is pushed to her limits and must take matters into her own hands to survive and regain control of her life.
It is better to say from the outset that director Natasha Kermani’s and writer/star Brea Grant’s film is not a straight-up cat and mouse slasher and takes the slasher concept and subverts it to become a horror with something to say and what it has to say is important, and happiness is as dark as you could imagine. This one woman show from Brea Grant (as our villian is masked throughout), is a great watch and is effective with how it leaves the audience with something to think about afterwards.
If you are watching Lucky and are not quite sure what the quite purposefully heavy-handed message is, you will when May is surrounded by half a dozen other characters who treat her in the most condescending way possible. Lucky is effectively a film about women not being treated the same way as men and being forced to double guess every one of their thoughts and decisions because of the environment they are put in.
For example, when we meet May, she is positively exhausted. She is on the tail end of her first book tour, which did well, but despite this success, she has no control of her career and has to fight against her publishers and manager to get her second book released. The lack of control she and, as we later find out, others have over their lives are pivotal and real, although, of course, some of these instances are exaggerated, the feeling is all too real. May is one of many women who are fed up with how they are being treated by men or the society they are surrounded in. This world is encapsulated by the characters in the film, who pretends to listen to May’s woes and frustrations. Those who are only there to be a little sympathetic but nothing more and so on.
May is the opposite of all of these characters, and as everyone reactions in a calm way to everything going on around her. She sieves, her frustration and anger build and builds until she realises. She has to do it all herself and, in the final act, tells others so. The character of May feels as if it is a character that every woman can relate to. They, too, have this frustration and want to take hold of everything going on and make it right. The bluntly to the point narrative makes that abundantly clear.
She is also a character who isn’t a shrinking violet as that has also, for some reason, been a cliché within the genre. May, like most women who are attacked in minor or violent ways. Want to live and do not simply fall into a million pieces and freeze when danger comes. No, May will fight and fight smart, but for as much and for as long as she keeps fighting. She is continually obtaining more and more damage, while her aggressor is fresh immediately after every attack. Witnessing May’s slow decline and fatigue as she struggles to overcome the insurmountable odds put against her. All the while being told how “lucky” she was to survive in the first place.
We have a film that, for some viewer’s confusion and a bit of frustration will build-up due to not quite getting or enjoying the message that is being presented. Lucky is a film that could quite easily have been a bit simpler with its message and still carried out a lot of the horror tropes to please a genre fan. Kermani and Grant do not have time for that and what we get is a smart, well-paced piece that is utilising the horror and thriller aspect to show the abuse that women go through on an almost daily occurrence. So if you are not a fan of films with such feminist based messages, sadly, this film may not be for you. But you are for sure missing out on a solid picture.
There are issues with the film, with some questions are never answered; why does May have these random bouts of amnesia with her turning up at random places or time flying by here? We, as the audience, also get the message pretty clearly and quickly, yet the attacks keep continuing and take up precious minutes of this already short runtime.
While Lucky misses some of its swings on occasion, there is still an awful lot to enjoy in this film that has something important to say. Yes, admittedly, that message is bleak, hope can still come from it in the way May tries to take a grip of her circumstances despite the lopsided battle she is in.
Lucky will premiere and debut exclusively to Shudder on March 4th in the US, Canada, UK, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand, as well as via the Shudder offering within the AMC+ bundle where available.
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