STARRING: LULU WILSON; KEVIN JAMES; JOEL MCHALE
DIRECTED BY: JONATHAN MILOTT; CARY MURNION
AMovieGuy.com's RATING: 3 STARS (Out of 4)
The main highlight surrounding the horror film Becky, is that it's a dramatic turn for Paul Blart funnyman Kevin James. Trust me, the concept of James playing a neo-nazi should rightfully perk your ears up, but the real highlight is that Becky is an exciting showcase of teenage revenge. Lulu Wilson stars as the title character, a thirteen year-old, angsty and angry at the world because her mother died from cancer, while her dad (Joel McHale) is not making things better. The plot begin with a trip out to the family lake house, with hopes of dad making a connection with his daughter. Things go south fast and it's not just because dad has revealed that he proposed to his girlfriend (Amanda Brugel), but because there is a group of escaped convict neo-nazi's knocking at the door. The bloodshed is turned up, because what these guys didn't account for is a pissed off teen in the woods. Becky is a deliciously violent film and if you are up for a kid fighting off nazi's in the woods, then this might be the movie for you.
It's easy to compare Becky to a version of Home Alone in the woods and that's okay. Writers Nick Morris, Ruckus Skye, and Lane Skye know that the setup needs to be simple. Two sides, the good people in the house, and the bad guys, the nazis that just broke out of their prison transport vehicle. What directors Jonathan Milott and Cary Murnion do is play a magic trick. Show us Kevin Smith with a swastika tattooed on his head, but the star is Lulu Wilson. She was the bright spot in both Ouija: Origin of Evil and Annabelle: Creation and now she is the star here. Her performance is Kevin McCallister with bloodshot eyes. When the group of nazi's swarm, she escapes to a clubhouse in the back, creating knives out of rulers and her pitbull Diego ready to be unleashed. The fun in Becky is just finding out how each convict is going to get their comeuppance. If you're in the mood for that you will enjoy it as much as I did.
As I said though, the Kevin James bad guy turn is intriguing and his violent switch is not bad. He plays it straight and less crazy. He wields a gun, beats some people up, but he also looks the part, so his performance doesn’t involve the unhinged wild man we saw in Joker or Jamie Bell's work in Skin. The allure is the unique way that eyeballs are stabbed out or boards with a nail go into the back of a guys head. It's all at the hands of little Becky, feisty and fierce, and a hero in the making. Becky feels more like an origin story, similar to a film like Hannah, where if any movie should get a sequel it would be this one.
And yes, there are plenty of problems in Becky, a Macguffin that is incredibly pointless in the end, a collection of characters that have little to zero depth. That's not the reason you would be watching in the first place. Becky is a B-movie at most, possibly something you would enjoy seeing as a midnight showing. And who knows, I think Kevin James can keep doing this dramatic turn, but his work needs to progress past typecast. Becky is the name up in lights and when Becky kicks ass, that's when it rocks.
IN THEATERS, DRIVE-INS, ON DEMAND AND DIGITAL - June 5, 2020
Written by: Leo Brady