Lucky (2002)
MTI Home Video
Cast: Piper Cochrane, Michael Emanuel
Extras: Commentary Track, Trailers, Biographies

If you’re a horror movie fan, you’ve probably read a few tantalizing snippets here and there about the gritty film ‘Lucky’. While the buzz is somewhat justified, ultimately, ‘Lucky’ will be known for its subtle, engaging spin on the serial killer genre. Yes, this movie is quirky as all get-out but it is not nearly as gory, mean-spirited or violent as the DVD cover art might convey.

To put it lightly, failing cartoon writer, Millard Mudd, is down on his luck. Living hermit-like andiexisting onia strict alcohol diet, Mudd’s world has collapsed. But one dayia dog named Lucky enters his life. You see, what makes Lucky no ordinary dog isihis abilityito talk. And what makes Lucky invaluable isihis abilityito teach Mudd howito write again. But what makes Lucky dangerous isihis abilityito get inside Mudd’s head anditurn him intoia serial killer.

This pitch-black premise is the perfect backdrop to create a deliciously demented slice of genre fare. Unfortunately, the movie never really takes off. Why? I never felt a sense of despair or failure with the film’s protagonist. Make no mistake about it, all of the movie’s performances are pretty solid throughout, alas, the Millard Mudd character is played with such even-keeled restraint, his acts of violence and depravity later on don’t seem justified. This is a guy who does not appear outwardly frustrated by his long bout of writer’s block and seems to enjoy his drunken, segregated lifestyle.

So when Millard ventures out for a six pack one night and literally runs into the dog that turns his life around, I never felt like this guy needed his life turned around to begin with. But, good ‘ol Lucky indeed provides Millard with a new outlook on life, at first, giving him helpful career advice that pays off and later, giving him the confidence to start dating again. But it’s not long before Lucky takes full control of Millard, convincing him to kill, kill, KILL! And kill he does, albeit, in a dry, bloodless fashion that will leave gore-hounds slightly disappointed.

There are a few inspired moments sprinkled throughout Lucky that might induce a chuckle or two. And a good portion of the camerawork is pretty nifty, especially for a movie that takes place primarily in one location. The camera glides, hovers and perches from every nook and cranny within the claustrophobic setting which really made it fun to watch. The DVD transfer is a bit murky, but overall, images appear crisp and the sound is rock solid, although, since Lucky is an in-depth character study, don’t expect your home theater system to get a work out.

Lucky is definitely good for a rental and I would urge aspiring filmmakers to check it out for its interesting camera angles and lean-n-mean storyline. I don’t foresee ‘Lucky’ becoming a cult-classic, which is a shame, because it retains all of the ingredients to become the next big thing.