Lucky would be great to watch on a double bill with Promising Young Woman. That film brings up a lot of provocative ideas about the ways society often downplays the seriousness of sexual assault claims because it makes people uncomfortable, makes an institution look bad, or (cringe) might harm the reputation of the man committing the assault. Lucky, meanwhile, deals with the related theme of people not listening to women or attempting to gaslight them. It's a sharply-written horror picture that provides the requisite jolts while also giving you something to think about.
May Ryer (Brea Grant, who also wrote the script) is a self-help author living in a suburban town with her husband Ted (Dhruv Uday Singh). Every night, a mysterious man breaks into the house and tries to kill her. She overcomes him each time, but as soon as she turns her back, his body disappears. Despite witnessing the event himself, Ted declares May irrational and leaves until she “calms down.” The police are no more sympathetic. They keep doubting her story, suggesting that maybe she's really just imagining things. A paramedic and a caseworker who come to treat her are condescending.
What's a woman to do in this situation? May starts to ask herself if she's crazy. But how can she be when the attacks feel so real and leave her with visible injuries? Surely, she's not imagining cleaning this psycho's blood off her floor every morning. No one will help her, no matter how loudly she screams for it. Everyone is eager to turn a blind eye.
Lucky tracks what happens as May realizes she's on her own in solving this problem. Scenes depicting her confusion/exasperation over the collective response she gets are potent because Grant makes those feelings so identifiable. Like too many women being mistreated by a man, May feels lost and alone. The actress conveys what a scary position that is to be in. At the same time, the third act builds to May making a startling discovery, one that propels her into serious action. Grant makes that transition credible, which in turn gives the finale a punch.
The way the story wraps up leaves viewers with plenty to chew on. Directed by Natasha Kermani, Lucky has the traditional bloody violence often found in horror movies, yet the true horror here comes from seeing the psychological toll taken on May when everyone dismisses her concerns. Mixed with a helping of dark humor, the film has valid observations about the need to listen when someone says they're being victimized.
Note: Lucky is available on the Shudder streaming service.
out of four
Lucky is unrated, but contains strong bloody violence and adult language. The running time is 1 hour and 23 minutes.