Self-help author May (Brea Grant) is stalked and attacked in her home one night by a masked figure. The intruder returns to attack her again the following night. And again. And again. He returns, without fail, night after night. The authorities are unable to help and the people in May’s life appear weirdly indifferent. With no one to turn to, May is forced to take matters into her own hands to regain control of her life.
Written by and starring Brea Grant, and directed by Natasha Kermani, Lucky is not only a tightly wound chiller, it also serves as an arresting social commentary on violence against women; specifically attitudes to violence against women in wider society. Recent research disturbingly reveals there is a woman killed every three days in the UK. A news feature in The Guardian earlier this year described an ‘epidemic of violence against women’ in England and Wales, and said a radical shift was needed to address this deeply rooted problem and how police tackle these crimes disproportionately affecting female victims. Following on from recent high-profile cases of horrific murders of women, including Sabina Nessa and Sarah Everard, there has been outrage at the advice issued by the Metropolitan police to women who think they may be in danger, including flagging down a bus. This sort of advice serves to put the onus on women, not the men who would attack and kill them. Many women have lost faith in the very system that should protect them. These are the sorts of issues Grant’s screenplay explores, and the chilling absurdity it approaches is rendered even more terrifying because it isn’t that far removed from reality.
The story hits the ground running, beginning with a home invasion, as May awakens to find a masked man standing downstairs before being despondently informed by her husband “Honey, that’s the man. The man that comes every night and tries to kill us.” From here the narrative bleeds into what resembles a time-loop stalker mystery as the intruder returns every night, and then during the day, and before long May is in a constant state of trauma, basically expecting and pre-empting an attack every moment of every day and night. Kermani cranks up the tension as May not only struggles to be believed by the police and those closest to her, but to evoke any kind of appropriate response from them, as they are all as chillingly detached and resigned about the situation as her husband. She soon discovers that other women, even women close to her, are experiencing a similar horror. While the film eventually moves into abstract territory, it packs no less of a punch as it eventually emerges as a sharp and affecting socially conscious horror.