Review by Sean Boelman
One probably wouldn’t expect to see Kevin James in a serious role, much less as the antagonist of a brutal home invasion thriller, but alas, that set-up surprisingly provides one of the most satisfying thrillers this side of quarantine. Jonathan Milott and Cary Murnion’s Becky may be over-the-top, but its level of carnage will certainly satisfy viewers’ craving for blood.
The film follows a teenage girl whose weekend getaway with her father is interrupted by a gang of criminals that is in search of something hidden in their lake home. This is definitely a very simple thriller premise — there’s a macguffin that doesn’t mean much and a game of cat-and-mouse that devolves into something more sinister — but creativity manifests itself in different ways here.
What is perhaps most shocking about the movie is that there are three credited writers, one of whom is a first-timer, and yet the film feels so cohesive. After the obligatory introduction that sets up the eventual moral of the story, the movie gets right into the action with multiple creative deaths and attacks.
There are some absolutely insane scenes in this film that will have viewers either laughing or recoiling in disgust, and sometimes both. One may be left to wonder how the eponymous protagonist got to Kevin McCallister levels of mischievousness, but ultimately, the story moves along at such a fast pace that one doesn’t have the time to stop and think about it.
Milott and Murnion do some really interesting things with the movie’s execution that help give it a very energetic style. Perhaps the most ambitious risk they took was in altering the sense of spatial geography within the film, and yet it works, making the rhythm of the editing and the sound of the score hit even harder.
The only real disappointment about the movie is that it is largely lacking in character development. Although the protagonist does have an arc, it feels more like an afterthought than anything else. The antagonists in the film are super generic, complete with the bad guy speech heading into the third act that shows the writers may have had less on its mind than it initially appeared.
That said, the cast is able to save some of this material and make something legitimate out of it. Lulu Wilson, who has made something of a junior scream queen out of herself, shows that she has a lot of talent, particularly in delivering the darkly comedic portions of the movie. Kevin James and Joel McHale are both out of their range in dramatic roles, but unexpectedly hold their own.
Becky certainly isn’t high art, but it’s a lot more fun than one would expect, especially given the fact that it shouldn’t work on paper. It’s a bloody, brutal, and mindless flick, and those are in short supply these days.
Becky hits VOD on June 5.