ARROW IN THE HEAD REVIEWS

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Lucky (2003)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Steve Cuden

Starring:
Michael Emanuel/Millard
David Reivers/Lucky (voice)
PLOT-CRUNCH
A frustrated, alcoholic comic book writer named Millard (Emanuel) rescues a wounded dog called Lucky (voiced by Reivers) and nurses him back to health. When the pooch awakens, it actually begins to talk to and inspire him. Millard eventually finds his muse for writing and…killing women in sadistic ways. SIT! ROLL OVER! PLAY DEAD!
THE LOWDOWN
"Ever have one of those lifetimes where nothing seems to go right?"-- Millard

The best way to describe the pleasant, yet harsh, experience that was viewing “Lucky” is to compare the affair to a sucker punch. The flick slyly set me up at frame one by inserting me into the mind of a neurotic, yet extremely likeable, character who went by the name of Millard Mudd, to then knock me down when I wasn’t looking.

As Millard and I walked the path that was the narrative, I warmed up to the lad’s existential ideas about the nature of reality, envied his countless beer runs, laughed at his quirky dating experiences (try LavaLife dude) and relished the hilarious exchanges he had with his new “it's so cute” canine roommate. Hey, I found a new friend in Millard! But then it happened. The film had me where it wanted me and without warning, it swang its massive hammer down full-force on my “duh” skull. THANK YOU FOR THE VICIOUS BEATING! The real games then began with an amusingly mind-numbing play on reality and good old Millard going from loveably neurotic to loveably misogynistic, freaking psychotic. Welcome to his nightmare! We get a suave talking dog, necrophilia i.e. corpse fucking (hey, a man’s got to have hobbies), self-mutilation, cross dressing…all the major food groups were covered and I lapped it up like a convict eating McDonald's on death row.

I would also like to give this film my first annual “Choking of the Year Award”. I’ve seen my fair share of throat grabbing (I work for JoBlo.com, after all) but Millard took the cake. The man was such a pro! I wonder where he studied the art? You see, there was one particular extensive sequence where Mil had some fun with a poor naked, tied-up broad. He choked her to the point of her passing out, she woke up, he choked her again, she passed out…repeat…repeat…you know the drill. That scene alone took me for an emotional loop-the-loop and was the height of the twisted shenanigans the movie liked to play throughout. One second I was laughing at the absurdity of the gruesome situation, and the next, I was appalled by the sheer brutality of it. Now that’s what a horror movie is supposed to do! Mess with me! I LOVED IT!

On the downside, Millard had a tendency to be long winded in spots via his lengthy interior monologues. I caught myself saying “We got it Millard!” out loud (yes, out loud!) during a couple of instances. “We actually got what you were saying 5 minutes ago...can we move on, buddy? You know, talk about something else?” Another trait that Millard sported that ticked me off now and then was his “loser whining” episodes. Don’t get me wrong, Mil was mostly all good in my book (although the nipple rubbing was a bit out of line), but when he went into “whining” mode, slapping him silly and telling him to grow up, crossed my mind. Lastly, the film was a tad redundant in places, nothing severe, but I felt some of it.

On the whole though, “Lucky” was a well shot, superbly acted (Michael Emanuel owned!) and endearingly mean-spirited little opus. Although not overly graphic, it planted many ugly seeds in my head and they grew into big, shocking images, giving me a full intake of horror in the process. As the end credits rolled, I felt a tad uneasy, even somewhat guilty for having enjoyed the atrocities that were presented before me. I laughed and was put off in tandem at times, and that my genre-loving fiends, is a sign of a solid movie. Benji ain't got nothing on “Lucky”! Kibble and Bits this!
GORE
The flick suggested most of its stuff, rather than show, but trust me, that was part of its power. We still got after-the-fact cadavers, one kool beheading that graduated to a head on a stick (Millard was having a blast), a bloodied head, a severed hand, some puke and Michael Emanuel shirtless rubbing his nipples in an arousing fashion (yes, that goes in gore…brrr).
ACTING
Michael Emanuel (Millard) deserves a pat on the ass and a couple of hookers for his superb one-man show here. The dude WAS the movie and in the hands of a lesser actor, it all could’ve gone to shits. Michael perfectly conveyed the many facets of his role and gave us quite the layered performance. David Reivers (Lucky’s voice) had me in stitches many o' times as the articulated and smooth talking little bow-wow. His charming, yet evil, delivery tagged with the ADORABLE doggie brought so much to the picture. Incidentally, I want to own Sidney the dog (Lucky). What a cutie!
T & A
We get two tit shots (neither of which was very pleasant to watch) and the ladies get…again…Michael Emanuel shirtless, rubbing his nipples in an arousing fashion. Sassy!
DIRECTING
Director Cuden managed to successfully echo his lead character’s state of mind via his invasive direction, be it through a well put moment of slow motion, a dead-on stylish angle, a clever use of black and white or a perfect aim within Millard’s claustrophobic surroundings. I must also applaud his handle on pacing. Although the screenplay got a tad redundant and most of the film was shot in one house, I rarely felt it due to the tight execution. Good show mate!
SOUNDTRACK
We get a somber and moody score by Ken Mazur that fit the film’s dread-filled bill perfectly.
BOTTOM LINE
Have “Henry Portrait of a Serial Killer” and “Lassie” to the horizontal mambo, add a pinch of morbid, yet side-splitting, humor to the sport and BINGO you got “Lucky” popping out of the woodworks. Sure, the film was a tad redundant at times and Millard lost me a few times with his bitching, but on the whole, this brutal slice of life gave me enough unapologetic horror, healthy chuckles, sly wit and overall technical quality to make it more than worth my while. Also, there’s a talking dog at play! I don’t know about you guys, but that’s always FUN STUFF to me! All my dog does is crap on my carpet and hump my lamp. Where’s my damn muse? Now do yourselves a favor, go rent the film and get lucky you sick puppies!
BULL'S EYE
The film was shot on DV in nine (yes, count them) nine days.

Only one dog was auditioned for the role of Lucky and that was “Sydney” the wonder Terrier mix!
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