Lucky is a 2021 horror film that follows a suburban woman named May, who finds herself stalked by a threatening figure who returns to her house night after night.
Lucky is trying to do a few things at once, taking advantage of horror tropes — that fans of the genre, as well as moviegoers with broader tastes — are by now very familiar. It plays off this familiarity to tell a meta-story — direct commentary on human existence, especially the unique challenges experienced by ambitious women. On paper, Lucky is walking in the footsteps of Get Out-style social horror. In practice, it's simply boring.
Tone: The film's primary problem is that it doesn't balance its horror with its commentary in an effective way. From its initial shocks, the film chooses to eschew normal human behavior to emphasize allegory, but you aren't clued into what's grounded, and what's not. I never understood why none of the characters treated these home invasions as seriously as they should; I could understand why no one was taking May seriously, but through their inaction, Lucky ceases to be compelling. It plays through the same cycle of violence that, if it wasn't scary the first time, it surely will not be the fourth or fifth time the crime is repeated. It's also repetitive in the sense that it never uses the promise of a new encounter to change things up, or reveal any new information. The result is a stale thriller whose message becomes pretty clear before its final reveal.
Theme: Lucky isn't void of meaning, but it's wanting of substance. It needed a deeper dive into what it's saying. In a bolder film, this final reveal would've been a tool of the first act. Additionally, May would've been able to plunge deeper into the film's feminist themes, allowing her to flip the script more satisfyingly. It doesn't help that nearly all the characters act the same. Aside from May, and maybe the film's antagonist, there aren't any actual characters in this film, only one-dimensional tools. Every ounce of enjoyment you may get out of Lucky will be directly tied to how closely you grow to like May. Unfortunately when a film is playing to both the real and the allegorical, I expect the lead character to be up to snuff, and I just never found her to be an interesting protagonist. This concept could have used another couple of passes: one to punch up the action and another to expand its themes, exploring them with purpose instead of obfuscating an entry-level understanding of modern gender politics behind yet another time loop. I would've liked to see Lucky get riled up throughout the duration — it feels too reserved for its own good.