29th Oct2020

Frightfest 2020: ‘Lucky’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Brea Grant, Yasmine Al-Bustami, Kristina Klebe, Kausar Mohammed, Hunter C. Smith, Dhruv Day Singh | Written by Brea Grant | Directed by Natasha Kermani

Luck isn’t with self-help author May Ryer lately. Her books aren’t selling and when a masked intruder breaks into the house she shares with husband no one seems concerned. Even the condescending investigating cop says she’s lucky things didn’t go worse. But then they do as the attacker keeps appearing, continuing to terrorize May with an almost supernatural ability no matter how valiantly she fights back…

Brea Grant seems to be on a role when it comes to genre filmmaking, she wrote the fantastic 12 Hour Shift, which screened at Grimmfest earlier this month, and now she’s not only written but also stars in Lucky – which features some similar themes, and shares a musical number (smaller in scope this time round) but is a film that has a LOT more to say about life from the female perspective.

Lucky starts off weird – with May’s husband calmly explaining that the noise she’s heard is the man that breaks into her home to try and kill them every night. Yes, you read that right. A man breaks into their home to try and kill them… or as her husband puts its “more like kill you”. She reports not to the cops, who seemingly have decided the incident was domestic violence – an argument between husband and wife. They don’t help, So May helps herself by killing the man each and every time he tries to attack; and each and every time he disappears as if nothings happened. Returning again and again. Over and over. It’s a cycle of violence. One that’s reflects the very same cycle of violence women in society deal with.

We also see no-one listening to May as she explains what’s going on, as she gets more and more frustrated with the lack of understanding and sympathy; much like women feel like they’re not being heard – be it in the jobs, their marriages, or even in real cases of violence and abuse. May’s frustration, brilliantly brought to life by Grant, is easy to understand and easy to empathise with – even from a man’s perspective. And the fact that May goes from scared of her attacker to resigned to the fate of daily visits is remarkably depressing – a reflection perhaps of the ongoing trauma, PTSD, of violence, be it domestic or otherwise.

There’s also a real feel that May is literally fighting ‘the man’, battling the physical manifestation of a patriarchy that she’s fighting against in her daily life – her successes deemed “lucky” rather than a result of her herculean efforts. There’s a scene in the parking lot, where a myriad of women are fighting their own masked attackers, when May’s assistant demands May helps not only her but all the women in the garage. May rebukes her, saying its a struggle to control her own ‘man’ never mind everyone else’s; as if to denote a weariness in her psyche, an unwillingness in her character to do anything but ‘go it alone’ (also the title of one of May’s self-help books. Yet the scene also proffers that maybe, just maybe that TOGETHER women, in a show of strength and solidarity, can overthrow ‘the man’ and to not come together and help one another will only help maintain the vicious cycle. It’s a sombre moment in Lucky and one that really shows where Brea Grant, as writer; and director Natasha Kermani (Imitation Girl) are coming from.

A metaphor for the struggle of women in today’s society, Lucky is a stunning piece of writing from an actress who has always given interesting performances in front of the camera and now, with Lucky and 12 Hour Shift, has shown she can give even more behind the camera.

****½  4.5/5

Lucky screened on Sunday October 25th as part of this months Frightfest Digital Edition.


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