There may be no greater fury than an angry thirteen year old girl and to prove this point, writers Nick Morris and Lane Skye have gifted us with Becky. She has already endured watching her mom slowly slip away from cancer, but now she must also contend with her dad wanting to remarry. Becky’s dad, Jeff, (Joel McHale) picks her up from school early so they can travel out to their cabin for the weekend and she’s elated at the idea of spending time with her dad and their two dogs, but that happiness is quickly ruined when Jeff’s girlfriend, Kayla, arrives with her son Ty.
Intercut with these events, we see a prison escape executed by Dominick and his protégé Apex. After orchestrating a prison yard fight that culminates in a death, Dominick then finds himself in a transport van with Apex (Robert Maillet) and a few other convicts. After proving just how deadly Dominick and his minions are, they of course descend upon the very cabin that Becky and her family are at.
A neo Nazi with a shaved head and giant swastika tattoo on the back of that bald head is a role that was originally supposed to be played by Simon Pegg, but scheduling conflicts led to Kevin James stepping in as Dominick. Mostly known for his sitcom The King of Queens, James proves that he’s no one trick pony. Quietly menacing, he has been planning this escape for a very long time and he has one mission: to retrieve a key that is hidden in the basement of Becky’s cabin.
A home invasion, in an isolated cabin no less, is a formula that everyone has seen a thousand different ways, but Morris and Skye have managed to keep it fresh with characters that we actually care about and putting the bulk of the action squarely on the shoulders of a thirteen year old girl. Kevin McCallister ain’t got nothing on Becky and this isn’t merely Home Alone in the woods. Lulu Wilson who first impressed us in Ouija:Origin of Evil and then went on to blow us away in The Haunting of Hill House plays Becky and she carries the film. While it may seem like playing a salty teenager would be easy, Wilson has to walk the very delicate line of being a supreme bitch while also remaining likable. Becky must believably square off against four escaped convicts, avenge and save her family and turn in some pretty amazingly gruesome kills all while keeping us on her side. That’s a hefty responsibility and Wilson does it effortlessly.
Directors Jonathan Milott and Cary Murnion (Cooties) also make it look easy to present a picturesque setting while never letting us forget that violence is percolating under the surface. As Dominick’s crew go up against Becky, they realize that she is way more than they bargained for: Becky’s pent up anger at the raw deal that life has given her fuels her uncanny ability to turn into a wee John McClane.
Though the film does leave us with a handful of unanswered questions while also bringing up a new one in the vein of nature vs.nurture, the frenetic camera work creates a stressful energy that really helps put the viewer in Becky’s shoes and outside of two, albeit brief, completely unnecessary incidents of animal violence, Becky is a genuinely fun, suspenseful and gory good time.
Becky is available On Demand & Digital June 5
Images: Quiver Distribution