Movie Review: Self-help author, stalked by a would-be murderer, is tired of being called “Lucky”

May is a self-help author who’s having trouble getting a deal in place for that next book. She can be excused for thinking her agent is patronizing her when he sugar-coats the lack of enthusiasm she’s getting from publishers.

No, she hasn’t been “Lucky” to have female-empowerment books like “Go it Alone” published. She puts in the work, she insists.

She has a brittle but functional marriage, which should be a comfort. But even her husband can seem a tad patronizing. And then she sees a masked man in their backyard in the middle of the night. That crashing sound means he’s broken in.

Ted is slow to awaken, and a lot more blase about picking up his 3-wood and heading out to confront the intruder.

“May, get up. We have to fight for our lives now,” he yawns.

His dispatches the masked man, but there is no body — “Same as the last time.” He’d like to get back to bed, but heck, got to call the police “again.”

May’s shock and fear is replaced with an expression that means the same in the U.S. and Canada, where “Lucky” was filmed.

“What the HELL?”

Screenwriter-star Brea Grant (“12 Hour Shift”) conjures up an intriguing and engrossing horror parable with dashes of feminism and shots at “going it alone,” a story of a writer tormented by the same stalker, night after night.

With a variety of weapons, in varying venues and intervening in murderous scenarios involving this killer menacing her publicist/assistant (Yasmine Al-Bustami) and sister-in-law (Kauser Mohammed), May must fight this demon, who gives a new manifestation to the term “personal demon.”

What’s going on here? May’s husband (Dhruv Uday Singh) takes umbrage at her understandably fraught response to what seems to her to be a new threat in her life, and moves out. That leaves her alone, with golf club or baseball bat, knife, hatchet or hammer, to beat off each fresh assault.

As in other stories where a perceived, persistent, nightly menace makes you and others question if this is all in May’s head ,”Lucky” makes you chew on what’s at the root of this. This cops are quick to tire of her crying “Wolf!” A social worker is brought in.

And yet, like Huple’s cat sleeping on Hungry Joe’s face every night in Joseph Keller’s “Catch-22,” we know that May has to take this seriously. It’s a matter of life and death, symbolically or otherwise.

This “explanations” for all this are less interesting than the mystery, a masked “stranger” (maybe) testing May’s ability to “go it alone,” a woman not taken seriously by men at every turn, and women (the social worker, the sister-in-law) connected to the men in her case, a woman heroically and capably defending herself, night after night, never getting credit for slaying the beast because the body disappears.

What do you think’s going on?  You don’t have to be “Lucky” to decode that. But Grant and director Natasha Kermani (“Imitation Girl,””Shattered”) package their “message” into a pretty clever if not all that ambitious thriller, with Grant our stoic heroine, fighting the good fight, night after night, plainly able to “go it alone” but maybe wondering if it’s worth it.

MPA rating: unrated, graphic violence

Cast: Brea Grant, Hunter C. Smith, Dhruv Uday Singh, Kausar Mohammed, Yasmine Al-Bustami

Credits: Directed by Natasha Kermani, script by Brea Grant. A Shudder release.

Running time: 1:21

About Roger Moore

Movie Critic, formerly with McClatchy-Tribune News Service, Orlando Sentinel, published in Spin Magazine, The World and now published here, Orlando Magazine, Autoweek Magazine
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