‘Lucky’ Review

Clever social critique held back by a messy technical side hangs onto its spirit

It’s a bumpy road until Lucky finds its groove. When it does, though, there’s far more to admire in what it wants to be rather than what it actually becomes. Like a mash-up of Get Out and Promising Young Woman, Lucky plants a flag in a gray area where passion drives the writing, but nothing seems to guide everything else.

May (Brea Grant, who also penned the script) is a self-help author who encourages women to go it alone on their paths to success. Her days are filled with book signings and publishing meetings, but her nights are ripped from nightmares. When darkness falls, a masked man enters her home and tries to kill her. Every time, she takes him down—only to have him vanish moments later. Her circle of friends describe her as "lucky" to survive, acknowledging her terror but always brushing it off like brunch gossip.

Lucky isn't so much about the home invasions as it is about how others react. Such films are some of the best within horror genre nowadays; evolving from torture porn (sorry, Saw fans) to metaphors about the terrors that already exist in our society. Lucky isn't technically impressive, but it never feels like a gimmick, despite the repetitiveness of May's nightly battles.

Grant's script is heavy with the critiques about society's responses to male violence against women, while director Natasha Kermani (Imitation Girl) leans too heavily on the screenplay's content. Lucky's pacing is grating, the blocking dull—the actors often stand in the frame and don't budge. Grant's performance is also deadly serious while the other performers go for camp. Could that have created an effective contrast? Yes, but it's hard to detect any noticeable tone that would've made that aspect worthwhile.

Outside of the technicalities, Lucky's smartest plays are the metaphors. Preachy? Sure, but an audience needs a brimstone sermon every now and again. Too bad it feels so cheap.


+ Responds to a major issue in society and runs with it

– Inconsistent direction; cinematography seems disconnected


Directed by Natasha Kermani

With Grant

Shudder, NR, 83 min.

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