March 3, 2021 Lucky (Movie Review)
What if you could never find safety, even inside your own home? Placing a fresh new spin on the home invasion flick, a timely new Shudder Original entitled Lucky arrives on Thursday, March 4, 2021 thanks to Epic Pictures and Dread.
Written by the multi-talented actress-writer-producer Brea Grant (Heroes series, After Midnight 2019), and directed by Natasha Kermani (Imitation Girl 2017), Lucky is a home invasion time-loop that sees one woman continuously fighting for her life. In this Feminist Thriller, we follow Grant’s character May, a self-help author, who is being stalked by a murderous masked man (Hunter C. Smith: A Day in L.A. series, The Big Day 2018).
Every night he appears, and every morning the people around her—namely her husband Ted (Dhruv Uday Singh: Good Trouble series, Prodigal Son series), sister-in-law Sarah (Kauser Mohammad: Silicon Valley series, What Men Want 2019), and assistant Edie (Yasmine Al-Bustami: The Originals series, S.W.A.T. series)—fail to offer much of a reaction to the previous night’s bloody struggle. So with no one to turn to, not even the police, May must take matters into her own hands to regain control of her life.
On the surface, the premise of Lucky contains elements of Groundhog Day (1993), Happy Death Day (2017), and a heavy influence from the home invasion Horror-Thriller. However, this is a film that is aimed at spreading a message; a feminist manifesto that is more closely in-line with the likes of 2019’s The Bellwether. But this is not a simple replication of anything you’ve seen before. With an early ‘90s feel to the visuals from cinematographer Julia Swain (Speed of Life 2019, Eulogy short 2020), and a killer score from Jeremy Zuckerman (Scream: The TV Series series, Horse Girl 2020) that is thick with John Carpenter’s influence, Lucky’s action kicks off before the 10-minute mark in a bid to quickly draw viewers in.
However, what makes Lucky intriguing are those issues that are unspoken, though heavily implied, suggestions beneath the surface of the screenplay; it is an intelligent expose on gender narratives, abuse cycles, the psychology of relationships, victim-blaming, and more. With humor injected into the dialogue to keep the mood from becoming morose, Grant raises questions on how women bond, whether there are psychological differences in the fear response between men and women, and why society sees a woman as “lucky” for the things she has in life, whereas a man is a hard-worker or determined survivor.
Knowing that Grant continues to choose roles that challenge the status quo, it’s not difficult to see the evolution that has led to Lucky. She’s a woman with a lot to say and that bleeds into each line of the film as she asks other women to work together, to depend firstly on themselves, and to refuse to be anyone’s damsel in distress. Offering life advice from a parking garage, she reminds her audience that we are each in control of our own destinies.
If this sounds a bit heavy, it is. Although, at 80 minutes, Lucky is careful not to overstay its welcome. A cry that explodes from Grant’s soul, it is more about its message than its delivery, and this is apt to polarize audiences—possibly down gender lines. Which leaves it sitting somewhere precarious, because it’s a carefully-crafted rallying cry for female empowerment, as well as for women to stand their ground and break the cycle of everyday abuses, but just a mid-level Horror-Thriller.
So unless you’re invested in the importance of what lies beneath, Lucky is simply another solidly-done, decently-entertaining Thriller—but with a time-loop twist. In order to take the maximum experience away from your viewing, you have to be willing to go down the feminist wormhole. Steeped in psychology but lacking in nerve-wrecking tension, this is still a journey worth taking if you have ever felt a lack of control, feared a dimly lit parking lot, felt unsafe in your own home, or just wanted to see Grant do the time warp. For this, Cryptic Rock gives Lucky 3.5 of 5 stars.