Lucky review – a stand against violence, on repeat

Phil Hoad
·2-min read

This clever thriller teeters on the brink of abstraction, and walks a razor wire between horror and an incredulous absurdity meant to stand for how women must live in the modern world: the daily toll of living in fear of aggression, physical assault and withstanding the misogynistic structures that excuse them.

At 2.29am one night, writer May (Brea Grant) peers over her balustrade to see an interloper, features blurred by a gel mask, staring up at her from the backyard. When she retreats to bed to tell husband Ted, he is disturbingly blase: “Honey, that’s the man. The man that comes every night and tries to kill us.” Ted manages to off the housebreaker with a pool cue, but his body disappears within seconds. The next night, and the next, May must do it all over again.

As this Groundhog Day home invasion unspools, other characters display the same weird acceptance as Ted. More than the physical threat, it’s as if a new unfathomable reality is creeping in and violating her own. The police response is half-hearted and, adding to the conspiratorial air, Ted packs his bags after an argument: “I can’t change this. This is just how things are.” After these microaggressions, the next macro one is incoming; you might expect an It Follows-style air of inexorable dread to set in, but May remains upbeat. Grant also wrote the script as well as starring, and perhaps it’s this closeness to the core ideas that allows her to pivot spryly between romcom perkiness and a nauseated hesitancy that suggests the dislocation between normal life and its violent substrate.

Towards the end, there’s a suggestion that May’s public tough-it-out credo – she is plugging a self-help book called Go It Alone – may be, in some sense, perpetuating these attacks. Possibly this is acknowledging that the strong-woman ideal championed by some quarters of the #MeToo movement comes at the expense of a more realistic and collaborative feminism. Natasha Kermani’s film is an elliptical but vehement statement on the post-#MeToo landscape. If the film’s story development is stymied by the narrative’s ultimate stasis, it is to all the better point out that the fight is far from finished.

• Released on 4 March on Shudder.