James Jay Edwards

Becky Delivers the Gory Grindhouse Goods

(Becky, Quiver Distribution)

James Jay Edwards reviews Becky, a fun romp of grindhouse cinema, starring Lulu Wilson and Kevin James, directed by Jonathan Milott and Cary Murnion.

 

With all the turmoil and unrest in the world today, it would seem as if the last thing we need right now is a movie about a gang of neo-Nazis that escapes from prison and terrorizes a multi-racial family. But here we are. Here’s Becky.

Becky is about a young girl, of course named Becky (budding scream queen Lulu Wilson from Annabelle: Creation and Ouija: Origin of Evil), who is treated by her father (Community’s Joel McHale) to a weekend vacation at the family’s lake house. Becky is thankful for the time with her father, since the pair has been drifting rudderless since the death of her mother. A wet blanket is quickly thrown onto the fun, however, when Becky discovers that her father has invited his new girlfriend and her son to come along as well (played by Amanda Brugel and Isaiah Rockcliffe, both from The Handmaid’s Tale).

 

(Becky, theatrical release poster, Quiver Distribution)

Family drama is only the tip of the iceberg for Becky and company, though. A group of white supremacists (led by Kevin James from The King of Queens) stages a daring prison escape nearby and makes its way to the lake house, desperate to find an object that is hidden inside. What the gang of thugs doesn’t count on is all of the pent-up rage that has been festering inside of Becky since her mother’s death, and the cons find themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time.

There is no “I” in Becky. The movie seems to be a real team effort, with two directors (Jonathan Milott and Cary Murnion, the duo who was also behind Cooties) and three screenwriters (first-timer Nick Morris along with Ruckus and Lane Skye, who wrote The Devil to Pay). The number of chefs in the kitchen explains the “throw everything against the wall” feel that the movie sports. Luckily, most of what is thrown against the wall does in fact stick. Becky is one crazy movie, but the ride is fun as hell.

 

(Becky, Quiver Distribution)

Milott and Murnion flirt with brilliance all throughout Becky. Sure, a lot of the movie is just shock for shock’s sake, but there are moments of palpable tension and unbearable anxiety in between the sudden bursts of bloodshed. Make no mistake, Becky is a brutally violent film, with all the creative kills and gory effects to prove it. But Milott and Murnion also know how to present imagery that ties the characters together and makes the audience think. Sure, some of the tricks are cheap, but they’re all very effective.

Essentially, Becky boils down to being a revenge flick masquerading as a coming-of-age movie, with just the right dash of retro-grindhouse-exploitation flavor. And, like any good grindhouse movie, parts of Becky border on ridiculous. Like, basically, the whole third act. But that’s not a bad thing. Becky’s revenge on her tormenters has the audience laughing with glee, and not just because she’s wearing a cute knit cartoon animal beanie while she’s taking it out. Becky is I Spit on Your Grave without the over-the-top fifteen-minute rape scene. Bloody and shocking without stepping over the line.

 

(Becky, Quiver Distribution)

Well, Becky does step over one line. A dog dies. Lots of people die, too. But movie fans usually only care if dogs die. And one does in Becky. You can probably guess that the dog is avenged many times over, but still be aware. If you’re sensitive to that, skip it. Otherwise, Becky is loads of fun.

 

 

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