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Becky Main

Becky Movie Review

Written by Stuart D. Monroe

Released by Quiver Distribution

becky poster large

Directed by Jonathan Milott and Cary Murnion
Written by Nick Morris, Lane Skye, and Ruckus Skye
2020, 92 minutes, Rated R
Released on June 5th, 2020

Starring:
Lulu Wilson as Becky Hooper
Kevin James as Dominick
Joel McHale as Jeff Hooper
Amanda Brugel as Kayla
Robert Maillet as Apex
Ryan McDonald as Cole
James McDougall as Hammond

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Review:

When a horror film resonates with audiences, when it hits the sweet spot, it’s usually because you know what you are getting from it. Every genre has templates after all, and you can tell from the trailer what loose category that movie is going to fall into. I did this with Becky, and I was gloriously wrong. When you throw in the alluring red herring of King of Queens and Grownups star Kevin James sporting a bald head with a huge swastika tattoo on the back and a killer beard playing the role of a menacing home invader, it’s almost as if you’ve tricked people. It's unfair, but I’m not mad at all. You won’t be either.

Becky (Lulu Wilson; Ouija: Origin of Evil) is having a bad year. Her mother died of a terminal illness, and her dad, Jeff (Joel McHale; Deliver Us From Evil), is quickly remarrying. Kayla (Amanda Brugel; The Handmaid’s Tale) brings a young son of her own to the new blended family. It’s all a nightmare for angry, grieving Becky...and that’s before escaped convict and Nazi zealot Dominick (Kevin James; King of Queens) shows up at the door with his gang of hooligans: Apex (former WWE wrestler Robert Maillet; Sherlock Holmes), Cole (Ryan McDonald; Fringe), and Hammond (James McDougall; ABC’s of Death 2). He’s looking for a special key left in the house years before, and Becky knows right where it is – in her fort in the woods. After all she’s been through (and all he’ll put her through), she’s not going to give it up easily.

Becky opens with her being questioned by police after the fact. She’s traumatized and splattered with blood. Something terrible has happened. You don’t know what, but you also don’t like the look in her eyes. The first half of the movie establishes the plot and grounds the danger by using alternating shots of Becky and Dominick, often in similar settings. The intent is to show their similarities as you wonder what these two could really have in common.

Oh, boy...strap in, buttercup.

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Lulu Wilson is, simply put, a goddamn revelation. Her presence, energy, and intense gaze are tailor made for horror. We’ve already seen this in the criminally underrated Ouija: Origin of Evil as well as The Haunting of Hill House and Annabelle: Creation. This will be her breakout role. Great actors will channel something and make you wear their shoes; you’ll feel their pain. I went through similar stuff at the same age (and worse, but that’s a story for another day). I have the same nuclear temper and “go for the throat” auto-response all rolled into one. I’ve spent a lifetime learning how to stay cool and NOT be me, basically. The character of Becky spoke frankly to me in a way that few characters have. This kid isn’t crazy, per se, but you do not want to cross her.

Kevin James shows that he’s not a one-trick pony funnyman with the character of Dominick. Yeah, the look helps, but it’s his calmly assessing demeanor and intellectual approach to the role that sells it. He doesn’t yell. He speaks softly. He uses a lot of big words, and he uses them correctly. He’s clearly a Nazi asshole, but he’s the most dangerous one. It doesn’t hurt that he’s a legit big bastard. Funny and scary are kissing cousins, after all, and Dominick is a memorable villain.

Still, you find yourself quickly asking who the antagonist is and who the protagonist is. Those establishing shots are ringing true. As the stakes rise and people start dying in awful ways, the realization hits you that Becky is a full-on horror flick with zero fucks to give and not the home invasion thriller it seems to be in both the trailer and the opening thirty or so minutes.

Actually, Becky is a slasher origin story. The structure of the story changes almost without you noticing it’s done so, and that is an absolutely wonderful trick. The gore effects get sicker, the color palette gets darker, and the humor turns nasty. Punctuated throughout by jarring music that utilizes a wonderful breathing effect that echoes Friday the 13th's famous score, Becky becomes a “line ‘em up and knock ‘em down” kind of affair. The kills are seriously violent and unapologetic, fun even!

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Major props to Lulu Wilson for taking some serious licks in this one, too. When I see kids get chokeslammed and heartpunched, I stand up and applaud. That’s next level ballsy and sets a tone that will keep you prepared for another shock.

The B-plot with Apex and his struggles with all that he must do is kind of beautiful. Becky doesn’t even need the subplot, but Robert Maillet plays the role with true heart and a nuance that I didn’t expect. He’s matured into a fine actor, and his scenes with Kevin James are some that both should be very proud of.

Becky is the kind of movie that no one is going to see coming. It’s vicious, gory, and violent, but it’s also relevant and features some finely honed acting. I want to see more of Kevin James in darker, more dramatic roles, and I want Lulu Wilson to be in practically anything. Don’t be shocked when this becomes a franchise.

You heard it here first.

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Grades:

Movie: 4.5 Star Rating Cover
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About The Author
Stuart D. Monroe
Staff Writer
Stuart D. Monroe is a man of many faces – father, husband, movie reviewer, published author of short horror, unsuccessful screenwriter (for now), rabid Clemson Tiger, Southern gentleman, and one hell of a model American who goes by the handle "Big Daddy Stu" or "Sir". He's also highly disturbed and wears that fact like a badge of honor. He is a lover of all things horror with a particular taste for the fare of the Italians and the British. He sometimes gets aroused watching the hardcore stuff, but doesn't bother worrying about whether he was a serial killer in a past life as worrying is for the weak. He was raised in the video stores of the '80s and '90s. The movie theater is his cathedral. He worships H.P. Lovecraft, Stephen King, and Clive Barker. When he writes, he listens obsessively to either classical music or the works of Goblin to stimulate the neural pathways. His favorite movie is Dawn of the Dead. His favorite book is IT. His favorite TV show is LOST.
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