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Film Review: An Intriguing Premise Can’t Quite Save the Obviousness of “Lucky”

Written by: Christopher Llewellyn Reed | March 3rd, 2021

Film poster: “Lucky”

Lucky (Natasha Kermani, 2020) 2 out of 4 stars.

Lucky has a terrific premise. Every night, a mysterious masked man breaks into the house of successful self-help-book author May and tries to kill her. When she first discovers this fact, she is further shocked by her husband’s nonchalance. He shrugs, even after he, himself, knocks out the intruder. Stuff happens, you know? Deal with it.

Written by its star, Brea Grant (After Midnight), and directed by Natasha Kermani (Imitation Girl), the film offers a number of intriguing situations that arise from its central thesis, among them the notion that women face untold obstacles in their daily lives that run the gamut from annoying to harmful to lethal. No one is going to save them, since our societal construct dictates that this is the normal way of the world. Give up or die trying. Maybe, via superhuman perseverance and, perhaps, a little luck, some will survive.

Brea Grant in LUCKY ©Shudder

As a metaphor for the past, present and future fate of women, Lucky flirts with brilliance. But on the path from genesis to execution, something is lost in the adaptation. Uneven performances don’t help, either. Like the killer who reappears night after night, there is also a redundancy to the narrative that does not gain in the repetition. We understand, early on, that which we witness; it’s prolongation taketh, rather than giveth. This would be a better short than feature.

Nevertheless, both Grant and Kermani add some nice touches, among them an opening sequence told through close-ups of Grant’s face and body as May listens to her agent drone on about why her latest work may not sell, thereby physically deconstructing her the way women so often are, and not just by men. Everyone in this universe (women, as well) plays down the threats, inured by their omnipresence. Death is but another hurdle to overcome.

Hunter C. Smith in LUCKY ©Shudder

Towards the end, the movie evolves in a mildly unexpected manner, upping the horror-genre ante for a bit, adding blood splatter to an already gory affair. But then it continues to traffic in the obvious. To be fair, one cannot and should not shirk from rubbing our noses in the pervasiveness of misogyny. Nevertheless, polemics, however important they may be, don’t always make for great cinema.


Christopher Llewellyn Reed is a film critic, filmmaker, and educator, as well as Film Festival Today's Editor. A member of both the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS) and the Washington DC Area Film Critics Association (WAFCA), and a Rotten Tomatoes-approved film critic, Chris is, in addition, lead film critic at Hammer to Nail and the author of Film Editing: Theory and Practice.

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