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Hitting the Jackpot: Sickle's take on "Lucky"

Lucky follows a writer who comes under attack from the same masked assailant every night as he tries to kill her. When her husband, friends, and the police seem nonchalant and content with the mysterious circumstance, she decides to take matters into her own hands. But soon the constant, seemingly supernatural threat takes its toll on her psyche.

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Lucky Review

As I have said several times in the past, I enjoy horror across the entirety of its spectrum, but there are two sub-types I tend to appreciate more than the rest (and oddly they are not usually neighbors on the spectrum of horror):

  1. Practical effects-heavy monsters and/or scifi horror.

  2. Films that use horror as a vehicle to deliver a human or philosophical message, such as a character study, social commentary, or metaphor for human experience.

This film falls into the latter category, in particular social commentary and human experience. We follow May Ryer (played by the very talented Brea Grant from After Midnight and The Stylist) as she tries to uncover what exactly is happening to her. She finds herself fighting for her life every night from a masked assailant whom she often kills handily, but the body mysteriously disappears, leaving the police skeptical and her husband and friends dismissive. All of this is happening in the midst of her trying to get her second book off the ground and fighting the subtle misogyny that pervades her life.

The film's commentary on the everyday plight of women in America (and in many cases worldwide) is fused into the framework of its quirky and intriguing premise. The constant recycling of the threat, self preservation, and general ignorance and indifference of the surrounding cast sheds light on the perils of women that become mundane, expected, and eventually accepted as merely "the way things are".

The film does an incredible job of balancing all of its elements in a near-flawless juggling act. It's suspenseful, funny, surreal and yet honest, dramatic, and yet silly and genuine at the same time. It packages it all in a digestible palate that is very well paced and equal parts light and serious. It does a great job of delivering its quirky plot in a humorous way, only to gradually reveal the real-life horror of its message as the film plays out.

There was a part of me that felt some of the script in the waning moments was a bit heavy-handed, not in the sense that the message wasn't important to thoroughly employ, but that it didn't trust the audience to grasp it on their own and thereby lacked the clever tact executed for a majority of the film. Inevitably though, the film's metaphors purposefully collapse like a surrealistic nightmare, instead choosing to use the story as a means to symbolize an unacceptably accepted norm, rather than give cohesion to the plot. And from a superficial movie patron perspective, that was difficult for me to stomach, but from an artistic and philanthropic perspective, it was a much easier pill to swallow.

I think Lucky was a powerful and intentional message wrapped in a horror dramedy bow that allowed it to be equal parts entertaining and thought-provoking. It does a good job of putting you in some shoes, however briefly and thematically, and making you experience the world through another lens; to see just how ridiculous it is the cultural standard of it all to the point that you at first morbidly laugh at it, but then realize that it's actually happening and nothing and no one seems to want to change it. It's a somber note to end on, but one that feels backed by a story that loved you enough to make it entertaining along the way and respected you enough to give you the truth in the end. And perhaps its greatest honor, one that sets it a part from other horror-fueled messages, is that it also instills a call to action, inevitably putting it on the hands of the viewer the only thing that really matters, "Are we going to or willing to do anything about it?"

Horror Rating System

Horror Qualifier: 8/10

Horror Quality: 5/10

Film Quality: 7/10

#lucky #breagrant #aftermidnight #thestylist

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