FrightFest 2020: Lucky review – a horror movie to seek out

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What happens if the same person comes to try and kill you every single night? That’s the idea behind the terrific horror flick Lucky – and here’s our review.

Brea Grant’s May shakes her husband Ted (Dhruv Uday Singh) awake in a panic. There is a man outside in an overcoat with a weird mask on. He looks like something from a slasher movie. She is terrified. She tells him what she has seen. He is nonplussed.

“Honey,” he reassures her, half asleep and unbothered, “that’s the man who comes every night and tries to kill us.”

Lucky, the disorienting and highly original horror from director Natasha Kermani and screenwriter/star Brea Grant, finds May tormented by a killer who appears in the night, every night, dead set on slaying her. May is met with flat disinterest by the police, which only grows more confusing as the killer returns again and again. May will have to fight back if she’s going to survive, but she’s going to have to adjust to this new reality in order to work out exactly how to do that.

The scene we described at the beginning of this review occurs very early on in Lucky, and for Film Stories it was like a magnet had appeared on screen, pulling us into the film and holding us in place. It’s here that we realise that this isn’t the reality that we thought we’d been experiencing, but a rather an off-balance version of it. It’s brilliant for the disinterested and matter-of-fact way that it’s communicated, almost rolling its eyes at us for not guessing that things had become so warped. It also serves to bond us to May, who is just as surprised as we are to find that she’s apparently living in a perpetual slasher movie.

This online festival screening (we saw Lucky as part of the October 2020 online FrightFest) marks the second feature film we’ve seen with Brea Grant as a screenwriter in last two months. The first, 12 Hour Shift (which she also directed), was the unexpected anarchic highlight of the August FrightFest. Lucky, which she also stars in, is a very different film, yet is similarly busy, intelligent and original. In such a short period of time Grant has established herself as one of the most exciting horror filmmakers out there.

What a wonderful, energising discovery her films have been. It really is so exciting to see someone step forward and make such a strong impression. Much like 12 Hour Shift, Lucky is an absolute joy to watch.

There’s a lot to the script. There’s a lot to do to communicate that helter skelter version of reality that’s at play. On top of that, there’s the subtext and theme that dictate the unexpected narrative turns and structure (the surface narrative is secondary to the themes). Lucky is driven by a frustrated, pointed and modern message of feminism and collaboration, one that at times simmers in the odd feel of the film and at other times bubbles angrily up to the surface. There is a palpable anger in Lucky that feels primal and raw.

There’s some humour in there, too. Not tension breaking jokes, but dark twists in the story or bleak little character moments designed to make you grin. On top of that, it’s a satire of slasher movies (although they’re wildly different in feel and story, it’s pulls at the threads of the subgenre with a similar playfulness to Happy Death Day), a character piece and a really enjoyable horror flick.

Like 12 Hour Shift, Grant’s script calls for so much to be going on, both in the physical action and in the loaded dialogue exchanges, and director Natasha Kermani is quite up to the task. A sequence towards the end of the movie set in a parking garage stands out as being particularly impressive. It’s a brilliant idea that is exceptionally well staged and features this intense creepy lighting. Another battle between May and the ‘man’ turns into wonderfully Wes Craven-style crashing scrap.

Lucky, then, is an exciting and highly recommended horror find that showcases how versatile and interesting the genre can be.


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