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After two months away from writing real reviews, I'm trying to make a comeback, but I'm not even sure where to start. I'm typing this, just to get my fingers moving, it seems once I do that, things start to flow. I was at Blockbuster, with a free movie coupon that I had to use by the end of the day. I had no idea what to rent, so I headed to the horror section, my favorite genre. Having seen about 90% of them, the only films I hadn't being all the straight-to-video stuff, which is a total crap-shoot. On a rare occasion, I'll find some hidden gem, most other times they're a total mess. But I've come up with a fairly good system for cases like these, start looking for Film Festival award winners. These are often films that are overlooked by most, but were good enough to get somebody-in-the-know's attention. That's how I ran across Lucky. On the cover, it says winner of the New York City Horror Film Festival, Best Film Award; since nothing else jumped out at me, this apparently was my film for the night.

Almost immediately the film gave me a good laugh, at the conclusion of the intro, when the title Lucky appears, a subtitle pops up saying Based on a True Story. Right away I knew that this was a film that had a sense of humor about itself. Because really, how can you take a film about a murderous dog seriously? The film concerns Millard Mudd (great name), a cartoon writer, who's seen better days. He has a serious drinking problem, for the first act of the film, there isn't a moment where he is without a can of beer in his hands. The cans are so prevalent, they're almost a character on to themselves. They're everywhere, they're so thick you can't see Millard's rug, and there is constantly the noise of them being stepped on. It proves to be a nice detail, to give the film some more depth.

Despite the film having an obviously very low budget, you can tell the filmmakers put a lot of thought and effort into it. Those small attention to detail things always give me a better feeling about a film. Often when a film has a huge budget, these thoughts go out the window, as they concentrate on making the biggest digital explosions possible. While I'd rather focus on the little things that make the character's tick. And boy do we learn how Millard ticks, almost too much. The first ten minutes is non-stop voice over, a free flowing inner monologue, that gets a bit annoying when he starts thinking about nonsensical matters. What finally stops it, is Millard hitting a little dog with his car, on the way back from a beer run.

He takes the dog in, tries to nurse it back to health, but it gives into its injuries and Millard is forced to bury the dog in his backyard. Immediately the dog pops back to life, and starts talking to him like a 70's blaxplotation character. The dog's mouth doesn't move, it's all done telepathically. So not only do we hear Millard's non-stop thoughts, but now we hear the dog's as well. When the script-courier character appears and she actually moves her lips to talk, it's almost refreshing.

At first Millard is happy to have some company. Then he's made even happier when the dog starts to give him wonderful new ideas for cartoon screenplays. Suddenly his writers-block is gone and he's producing the best work of his life. All thanks to this undead, telepathic dog that may or may not be a reality. Millard is turning his life around, he cleans up his house, puts on some clean clothes, and meets a girl while taking his dog for a walk. ( This is the scene I'm not sure where reality begins and ends.) Everything is very good for a while, until his dog starts to demand blood in payment for his services. Millard goes off the deep end, the red stuff starts to flow, and you don't know who'll come out alive.

Lucky is a well made little horror-comedy. Despite being shot on video, it has a good look to it, they keep the camera moving and shoot it from unique angles; the frantic editing gives you a good sense of the chaos going on in Millard's head. Millard is played well by Michael Emanuel, shlubby, but likable. The dog's talking gets a little annoying, he mostly just stares straight ahead, there isn't much interaction between the two characters. I would have liked the film to be a little bloodier, feature a few more deaths, but what's there is done well. Millard's voice over gets overused, but it's mostly well written. I particularly liked the opening line, "Ever have one of those lifetimes?" This definitely isn't a film for your average film viewer, you have to be open something completely different than the norm. - Grade: B

1 Response to Lucky:

  1. Another great review ~ thanks for the recommendation :-)