Movie Review: Sadistic neo-Nazis meet their match in 13-year-old ‘Becky’ 

NOW STREAMING ON:

A group of escaped convicts led by a sadistic neo-Nazi meet their unlikely match in a moody 13-year-old girl in Becky, an effectively grisly new home invasion thriller now streaming on Amazon Prime. 

Off to a cottage retreat some time after the death of her mother, the titular Becky (Lulu Wilson, of Annabelle: Creation and Oujia: Origin of Evil) gets an unpleasant surprise when she finds out that Dad (Joel McHale) has invited new girlfriend Kayla (Amanda Brugel) and her young son (Isaiah Rockcliffe) to join them. 

But the family is about to get an even bigger shock with the arrival of a group of prison escapees led by the imposing Dominick (Kevin James), who are out looking for the movie’s MacGuffin, a key that Dom has hidden in the basement of the cabin years before his incarceration. 

But Becky turns what could have become a usual home-invasion thriller on its head in its use of the titular character: out in her treehouse while Dad and co. are tied up and tortured, angsty teen Becky morphs into John Mclane, hacking together makeshift weapons from the kinds of materials found in a 13-year-old girl’s backpack and taking out the criminals one-by-one.

Almost inherently due to that premise, Becky is not to be taken entirely seriously, even though the underlying story is fairly straightforward. But the film is propelled to almost parodic levels thanks to the presence of sickeningly over-the-top graphic violence, which may shock anyone who doesn’t know what they’re getting into. 

Sporting a ratty beard and shaved head full of Nazi tattoos, to say that Kevin James is playing against type here would be an understatement; this is the first time the Paul Blart: Mall Cop star has stepped outside the comfort zone of family comedy, and he’s a total revelation. Frighteningly imposing throughout, James even overshadows six-foot-ten co-star Robert Maillet, who typically plays the baddie in these types of things. 

But it’s Lulu Wilson who makes Becky really work: all-too-believable as the angst-ridden teenager still grieving over the death of her mother and full of angst over dad’s new relationship, she turns what might have been cartoonish into something raw and real, despite the sometimes-goody nature of the proceedings. 

Co-directors Jonathan Milott and Cary Murnion previously made the effective, if mild, B-movies Bushwick and Cooties; despite some tonal issues, Becky is their most accomplished work to date, and well worth checking out for the performances by James and Wilson and a unique spin on the home invasion thriller. Gore-averse audiences, however, are best advised to stay away.

Becky

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Jason Pirodsky

Jason Pirodsky

Jason Pirodsky has been writing about the Prague film scene and reviewing films in print and online media since 2005. A member of the Online Film Critics Society, you can also catch his musings on life in Prague at expats.cz and tips on mindfulness sourced from ancient principles at MaArtial.com.

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