are you scared

Lucky (2004) Review By Matt Compton

Director: Steve Cuden

Writer: Steve Cuden

Starring: Michael Emanuel, Piper Cochrane, David Reivers (voice)


An alcoholic cartoon writer finds a solution to his writer’s block in the form of Lucky, a telepathic talking dog with a very bad attitude but when his back yard starts filling up with dead bodies he wonders what secrets Lucky has been keeping from him…

Most people have been in one of those situations when a stranger starts talking to you and they seem to be fairly friendly and normal at first but then they start twitching and dribbling uncontrollably or talking about how many people they have stabbed today or maybe just looking at you in that really intense and hungry way and you realise that perhaps being in this person’s company is not the best place for you but you can’t leave for fear of upsetting the balance of their precarious mental status quo and provoking them into some wild murdering spree or something. Well, Lucky is the filmic equivalent of that experience. Not an entirely bad thing for a horror film.

It begins fairly lightly with the protagonist, Millard Mudd, giving an amiable and convivial voice over account of his downward spiralling life and descent into alcoholic depression. Granted, that doesn’t sound particularly light but by Lucky’s standards this is positively joyous. It really is one dark and twisted freak of a film.

Once Millard’s mysteriously re-animated dead dog starts talking to him things start to get a little better for him as he thrives under the dog’s strict regime of writing and sobriety. He even begins dating the girl of his dreams and for a while all is good. This sadly doesn’t last and it is here that things start to get seriously demented.

The film takes some unexpected turns as Millard finds some new interests, namely torture, kidnap, murder and necrophilia. When Millard has finished with one of his “companions” Lucky gets to snack on what’s left. Pleasant stuff.

Despite how grim this sounds, it is all treated in a very blackly comic tone with the protagonist’s constant world-weary but easy going voice over keeping us (almost) sympathetic. It is a tribute to Michael Emanuel’s acting ability that he is able to pull this off. It should also be acknowledged that he manages to hold audience attention despite being in every scene of the movie, for much of it either alone or acting opposite a small dog. No small feat.

Despite the limitations of its clearly low budget and being a little overlong and flabby in places, Lucky has a lot going for it. It has a style and sense of humour all of its own, it has a bold and at times very funny script and is anchored by strong performances from the cast. The photography is a little dark and cheap looking but does serve to create the right atmosphere.

This is certainly not your average horror film and some will find that they cannot leave its company fast enough probably wishing that they’d never made its acquaintance in the first place. Those who like their horror challenging and their boundaries tested on the other hand will find a new friend in Lucky.

Rating: 7/10




Review By Matt Compton