Director: Jonathan Milott & Cary Murnion
Screenplay: Nick Morris, Ruckus Skye, Lane Skye
Starring: Lulu Wilson, Joel McHale, Kevin James, Amanda Brugel, Robert Maillet
BBFC Classification: 15
Directors Jonathan Milott & Cary Murnion have made two of the best genre offerings in recent years: Cooties (sharp, silly and slick zombie comedy) and Bushwick (a sharp and searing action film that deals with a horrifying militia uprising). Their third go around on the feature front may not be as sharp and slick as those previous efforts but is nevertheless a full throttle genre effort that doesn’t skimp on the brutality.
Becky (Wilson) is an emotionally wrecked 13-year-old still reeling from the death of her mother the year previous. Bottling up rage she pushes her father (McHale) away when he tries to help but her anger is compounded even more when her father’s new girlfriend (Brugel) and her young son join them at the family retreat for the weekend. However, her new potential stepmother fast becomes the least of her issues when a group of escaped Neo-Nazi convicts turn up to the holiday home looking for something hidden within. Simmering with fury and escaping the clutches of the convicts, Becky re-purposes her rage and lets all hell rain down on the criminals as she attempts to save her family.
Full of creativity, often tense and featuring a great performance from known comic actor Kevin James (Paul Blart himself!) as the bald, bearded, bat-shit crazy leader of the criminals, Becky is a tough home invasion thriller: an adult Home Alone. Lulu Wilson (Ouija 2) commits full force as the anger fuelled Becky re-targeting the rage she feels at the unfair hand life has dealt her (plus dealing with a being a teenager also, which is hell enough!) to become a one woman wrecking machine. Realising she is the only one who can save her new family, she fashions blades from taped up pencils, broken rulers and nails in boards to extract violent vengeance on the not-as-smart-as-they think-they-are criminals. Sure, some may scoff at a 13-year-old taking on hulking great bad guys but that’s all part of the fun and nifty concept: pint sized Rambo goes full throttle on some bad dudes who deserve it!
And there is some glorious mayhem on show as directors Milott & Murnion do not hold back on the violence. Blood gushes, bodies are ripped apart and in one particularly “what-the-fuck!” scene a broken ruler is graphically shown taking a bad guys life! There’s a heavy vibe of 80s exploitation running throughout which adds to the atmosphere and a sense of catharsis as Becky uncorks the bottled teenage fury, making this one violent actioner. Unfortunately, while a lot of Becky is great there a few stylistic choices that dampen proceedings slightly. The overuse of hand-held/shaky cam does soften the tension somewhat getting in the way of what’s going on onscreen and the pace never feels as supercharged as it should, stopping and starting too much when it should be ramping up as the violence erupts.
However, there is still much inventiveness to admire here including some creative use of transitions; the inventive parallels between Becky leaving school and the prisoners escaping prison in the opening scenes; a quietly commanding performance from pro-wrestler Robert Maillet as a one of the bad guys who has a crisis of conscience part way through the siege; and a home-run that unleashes some epic carnage as Becky fully embraces her action hero credentials. While Milott & Murnion’s previous efforts pip this one slightly, Becky still proves they’re one of the best directing duos around right now delivering creative, hard-hitting genre films.
Becky is released in the UK from Vertigo Releasing on 28th September 2020
No special features available at the time of review