Directed by Jonathan Milott and Cary Murnion.
Starring Lulu Wilson, Joel McHale, Kevin James, Amanda Brugel, Robert Maillet, and Ryan McDonald.
A teenager’s weekend at a lake house with her father takes a turn for the worse when a group of convicts wreaks havoc on their lives.
Bearded and inked up in Nazi iconography, Becky certainly features comedian Kevin James (most known for TV sitcom King of Queens) like never before, but there’s a reason it’s not called Dominick. This is the average home invasion thriller (sometimes to an unrecoverable fault), but teenage Lulu Wilson (The Haunting of Hill House) does deliver a primal performance as the eponymous Becky that organically and progressively turns angst-ridden grieving to full-on vengeful savagery (hey HBO, if you are still looking to cast Ellie for your The Last of Us series adaptation, check this out).
Juxtaposing prison and school, directors Jonathan Milott and Cary Murnion (they recently found small success with the Dave Bautista action thriller Bushwick) set these characters on a bloodbath collision course. Becky is being pulled from school to spend some time with her father at their lake house. She is mourning the loss of her mother to cancer, not in the right mindset for school work, and lashing out at her father Jeff (Joel McHale) for already moving on and planning to marry another woman. Such an act would also give her a stepbrother, something she doesn’t feel fond of either. Matters are complicated when Jeff explains that Kayla (Amanda Brugel) and Ty (Isaiah Rockcliffe) will be meeting them there to join in on the getaway.
Meanwhile, Dominick (Kevin James, who wisely doesn’t speak much at all during the early stretch, allowing us to adjust that he and his size are not about fun and games here, but something more intimidating) and his trusted confidant Apex (Robert Maillet) pull off a violent escape during a transfer. Their first order of business is heading to that same lake house to search for a mysterious key which its purpose is never really explained or elaborated on aside from a throwaway line. As previously stated, the plot and set up here are painfully generic with not even an attempt to give the narrative some kind of engagement.
That’s because these filmmakers (it’s also worth pointing out that this bare-bones story somehow took three collaborating writers to craft) are only invested in putting a sadistic spin on Home Alone that forces a 13-year-old girl in the grieving process of one trauma, to jump right into more trauma and fight for survival. The problem is that Becky is occasionally too nasty for its own good (not only does one dog die, but multiple are attacked and abused), with the filmmakers seemingly enjoying torturing their child protagonist. It makes some of the gruesomely silly kills feel out of place tonally even if the grisly death on display is gnarly; the rest of the experience is rather horrific to watch.
Becky doesn’t just have to deal with Dominick and Apex, but a few additional henchmen, mainly just because the rest of the family is pretty stupid, terrible at lying, and doesn’t actually do anything useful until it’s convenient for the plot. There’s a roughly eight-year-old child who casually sits down for hours with his hands duct-taped together as people around him are verbally abused and shot, and it’s all just normal to him. His only concern is why his mother is swearing. If not for the punk-rockish, ferocious turn from Lulu Wilson, Becky would be a total bust. It can’t even be bothered to explain what the hell it really is these psychopaths are looking for. Thankfully, the special effects team around her are having a blast making the murders as grotesque as possible to bring about flourishes of demented fun.
For anyone that is even remotely familiar with Kevin James and that enjoys his work as a screwball jokester, this is worth putting your eyeballs on just for the shedding of typecast alone. That’s not to say you will remember his performance, but you will at least probably remember Becky. As a character that is; the movie itself is still sadly forgettable.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★
Robert Kojder is a member of the Chicago Film Critics Association and the Flickering Myth Reviews Editor. Check here for new reviews, friend me on Facebook, follow my Twitter or Letterboxd, check out my personal non-Flickering Myth affiliated Patreon, or email me at MetalGearSolid719@gmail.com