Fantasia Review: 'Lucky' Transcends Horror Conventions and Offers a Powerful Feminist Perspective Directed by Natasha Kermani

Fantasia Review: 'Lucky' Transcends Horror Conventions and Offers a Powerful Feminist Perspective Directed by Natasha Kermani
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Lucky takes a familiar horror premise — Final Girl forced to do battle with a faceless home invader — and, instead of being bound by its conventions, uses them to explore themes like gaslighting and self-preservation. More concerned with the vulnerability and fear that arise post-home invasion, Lucky is a story rooted in female fears and told from a clever, unique angle with multiple great payoffs.

Self-help writer May Ryer (Brea Grant) is stuck in a bit of a rut. Once a celebrated author, May hasn't been able to top the booklists like she used to, and faces rejection from her publishers and her own nagging self-doubt. As if this wasn't enough to deal with, May finds herself pushed to her breaking point when a masked intruder breaks into the house she shares with her husband Ted (Dhruv Uday Singh), who seems strangely unconcerned — and not at all surprised. Even weirder, the masked intruder returns again the next night — and the next, and the next. The cops are baffled, but also unconcerned, heavily implying this might be May's overactive imagination. When May fights back, she soon learns this is no ordinary stalker, and it's going to take more than a tumble down the stairs to kill him.

Like other "repetitive horror" films like Happy Death Day, May is the only one distraught by the strange circumstances happening around her. But the film deploys a great genre twist by not only making the other characters aware of what's happening but also treating the situation like it's totally normal. Because they repeatedly diminish May's understandably emotional responses by behaving as though an immortal masked man breaking into your house every night is totally normal, May comes to reconcile with the fact that, like many other women facing abuse, she is the only person she can really rely on. As a self-help author (famous for books such as Go It Alone) forced to present a rational, collected face to her fans despite her frayed nerves, May spirals downward into another pressure familiar to many women — burying our anxieties under a veneer of perfection.

Fantasia International Film Festival is taking place online from August 20 to September 2. (Epic Pictures)