Lucky

***1/2

Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

Brea Grant in Lucky
"Grant, who wrote the script as well as starring, submits completely to the logic of the role even as her character grows increasingly outraged by the absurdity of it all." | Photo: Courtesy of Fantasia

"There's a man outside," May (Brea Grant) whispers urgently to her husband.

"Oh," he responds. "That'll be the man who comes every night to try and kill us."

Lucky lays its cards on the table right at the start. If you think you've seen all there is to see in terms of horror films where men randomly attack women, think again. Natasha Kermani takes the language of the slasher film and uses it for her own purposes in a film whose playful moments will amuse and delight fans of traditional horror before they give way to something much, much darker.

What would you do if a man came to your house every night and tried to kill you? The police, when summoned, immediately take a look at May's injuries and suspect she's trying to cover up after a domestic violence incident. When they ask "Does your husband know this man?" she feels too embarrassed to repeat what he said to her. Later, when she tries to explain, her words sound absurd even to her.

She can fight, of course. Horror moved a lot faster than other genres in cottoning on to the fact that women are not shrinking violets incapable of defending themselves. But if you're reading this review, you're probably familiar enough with how horror movies work to understand that even extreme violence is no guarantee against a sequel.

Ultimately opening out into a much broader and more challenging dialogue, Lucky (the title refers primarily to the way women are often told they should feel when they survive violent assault) uses its surreal concept to ask questions about a real world which is really far stranger. Though shot on a low budget, it's handsomely produced, and Kermani shows the same gift for visual storytelling that made her 2017 film Imitation Girl stand out. Grant, who wrote the script as well as starring, submits completely to the logic of the role even as her character grows increasingly outraged by the absurdity of it all.

Perhaps she could get used to fighting every night, but she's beginning to take cumulative damage. Perhaps she could move away, but it might not be enough, and besides, why should she? It's her home, her life he's invading. But no matter how well she defends her life, he only has to get lucky once for it all to be over.

A smart, savvy film which never lets itself be overwhelmed by the deep emotion underneath the surface, this was a strong addition to the Fantasia 2020 line-up. It's a film that may be light on plot but that has a heavy impact.

Reviewed on: 26 Aug 2020
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Lucky packshot
A suburban woman fights to be believed as she finds herself stalked by a threatening figure who returns to her house night after night.

Director: Natasha Kermani

Writer: Brea Grant

Starring: Brea Grant, Hunter C Smith, Kristina Klebe, Kausar Mohammed, Dhruv Uday Singh

Year: 2020

Runtime: 83 minutes

Country: US


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