Lucky Girl has been described by Hungarian director Demeter Lóránt as a combination of exploitation and French new wave horror, characterized by its unflinching portrayals of sex and violence. If anything the brutality present here is too attractive and portrayed with an almost mechanical indifference that raises questions about the ease with which one can disconnect from savagery without all of the typical Hollywood theatrics.
Lucky Girl opens to a field where a woman lies motionless. Slowly the camera pans over the flat nothingness to give us a fleeting sense of context as it’s revealed that there has just been a serious car accident and there are two other women lying about the wreckage with varying degrees of injury. A large man in overalls is seen dragging them off screen until our protagonist comes into view and is summarily bludgeoned into unconsciousness and dragged away as well. This sets the tone for the rest of the short, there is no dialog throughout aside from the very end, and there few attempts at characterization or differentiation of our victims. The two girls that manage to live past the first 5 minutes (the other simply referred to as “Dead Girl”) are almost indistinguishable in appearance, even down to wearing nearly identical clothing and sporting matching haircuts, a fact that our Lucky Girl uses to her advantage when making her escape.
The exploitation inspiration is not hard to spot, both in the classic “women in peril” style plot and in its 70s throwback aesthetic. While the sharp, HD polish is enough of a hint to instantly give away we aren’t at the grindhouse, the palette feels incredibly faithful, with bright pastels contrasting a sea of blown-out whites. The soundtrack is a deep, building electronic-ambience that largely remains in the background, but arises when needed to punctuate particularly dramatic moments. Even when we move past the rape and the bludgeoning, when our heroine rises up to take her revenge and claim her freedom, there isn’t a sense of triumph or growth that we associate with the hero’s journey. All that remains is the drive to survive, and she shows little remorse in doing what must be done to ensure she makes it out.
When the dust settles we aren’t left with any answers or for that matter, any particular questions. Lucky Girl drops us into its bleak world and we must take it as it comes. Our villain acts as a purely destructive force, a defiler of the innocent for whom murder has become second nature. Our victims are the defiled, nameless and without character, sanctified by their silent degradation. Whether or not Lucky Girl speaks to you is going to depend a lot on what you look for in a horror movie. If you’re looking for a deep story with lots of memorable characters, this isn’t it. If you’re a gore hound looking for something to push the limits of bad taste, Lucky Girl is surprisingly reserved given its influence. However, if you’re looking for an experience that casts off the bells and whistles and treats brutality as the blunt and meaningless vulgarity that it so often truly is, Lucky Girl might be just what you’re looking for.
Lucky Girl is directed by Demeter Lóránt and stars Nikolett Dékány, Géza Benko, Nikoletta Mucha, and Barbi Horváth. The official Facebook page can be found here.
The film is currently touring the festival circuit and you can visit the official website here for more info.