Blending home invasion horror with a blistering commentary on life in the modern age, Natasha Kermani’s Lucky is a film with something to say.
The latest twist on time loop narratives, Lucky offers an allegorical tale of home invasion, individualism, and feminism that is sure to start conversations. It doesn’t rise to the storytelling heights of similarly looping features, but it does find fresh ground amongst well-worn territory.
Mae (Brea Grant) is a self-help author whose latest book is failing to match its predecessors’ success. To make matters worse, she is also being stalked by a masked man wielding a large knife who appears every night and tries to murder her. Mae always kills the assailant, but his body disappears before anyone can see it.
Unlike other films that feature a time loop scenario, Lucky’s narrative does not revolve around a repeating day or single event. Mae’s life is always moving forward, but at some point, every day, the man with a knife appears and attempts to kill her. Time and location do not matter. It often happens at night, but he stalks her during the day as well. Mae turns to everyone she can think of for help, including her husband and the police, but nobody can help, and very few seem to believe her.
Grant, one of the most prominent stars of indie genre film at the moment, carries the film with talent well beyond her years. Even as Mae begins to feel like she’s losing her grip on reality, Grant conveys the flurry of emotion within her character as something enormously complex, and in doing so, makes Mae feel real. She’s more than a one-note final girl; she’s a funny, scared, smart, and curious human that refuses to submit to the supernatural forces trying to break her spirit.
Lucky runs a short 80-minutes in length, but once the story reveals its twist, one cannot help feeling as though they are watching a short film stretched to feature-length for no discernible reason. The movie is less about unraveling the mystery of the man and more about making a statement on the reality of life, specifically for women, in our world. It’s about the horror of being and how no matter how hard you fight or prepare, tomorrow will always bring a fresh terror. That conceit works, but it may work even better with more concise storytelling.
Viewers need to ask themselves what they seek in a thriller before choosing Lucky. While the film’s technical execution is on par with anything one might consider to be of high quality in horror right now, filmmaker Natasha Kermani seems to care more about delivering the message than entertaining. Lucky is, above all else, a commentary on existence that touches on deep philosophical questions through the lens of an uncomfortable truth that many people, mostly men, often find a way to ignore. What you do with the information it has to share is up to you. Kermani does not offer solutions or even hope, but she does make you think, and that is more than I can say for the vast majority of recent indie genre fare.