The Wrath of Becky

Back in 2020 there was a pretty cool indie action type thing called BECKY. Lulu Wilson (The Haunting of Hill House) played a sullen thirteen year old trying to emotionally survive a cabin retreat with her widower father and his new fiance when suddenly she has to physically survive a home invasion by a neo-nazi gang. They killed her family (except for her dog Diego) so she hides the mysterious, possibly-mystical key they’re looking for and turns into kid McClane, violently hunting them using household and treehousehold items and wearing a cutesy knitted chipmunk hat.

I had some issues with BECKY but I enjoyed it enough to be excited by the prospect of a sequel with the pulpy title THE WRATH OF BECKY. It got a limited theatrical and VOD release back in May and has since come out on DVD (but not blu-ray I guess?).

The sequel comes from a different creative team – writer/directors Matt Angel & Suzanne Coote (THE OPEN HOUSE, HYPNOTIC) – and has a much jokier tone, as immediately evident in the smart-assy narration and montage where Becky sports a STEPFORD WIVES phony smile while courting potential foster parents. As soon as it works she runs away and lives off the grid with a nice old lady she meets while hitchhiking. Elena (Denise Burse, BASQUIAT) has nice, life-affirming talks with her and doesn’t judge her for her DIY combat training and building of booby traps in the nearby woods.

But they have the bad luck to live across the lake from another white supremacist shithead, the leader of a corny gang called the Noble Men, whose followers are coming to town to stage an attack on a senator when they happen to stop in the diner where Becky works as a waitress. She doesn’t put up with their goonish behavior and it offends them so deeply that they follow her home and break in to “scare her.”

Obviously it’s not all lighthearted. Some upsetting things have to happen to set Becky off. (SPOILER.) Things get messy, they end up killing Elena and taking Diego, so Becky straight up tells us in narration that she’s gonna kill these motherfuckers and get her dog back. Believe her.

One of the selling points of BECKY was the stunt-casting of America’s comedy goofball Kevin James in the very serious role of the white supremacist leader. I didn’t quite buy him as the character, but many people did, and there were some chilling moments in that one. Here they follow a similar playbook by casting America’s Stifler, Seann William Scott, as Noble Men leader Darryl, and this time I think it really works. Although he will ultimately face the ignoble humiliation of being a misogynist outmatched by a young girl, he’s not playing his usual doofus. He’s serious and mostly competent, trying to steer his stupid followers to success, showing a cult leader charisma as he pretends to be their friend, forbids them from calling him “sir,” and stays unnervingly calm about their escalating fuckups, meanwhile clearly scaring the shit out of them anyway.

So there’s a grounded threat here, playing off the ugliness of the real world right wing extremism of today, but on Becky’s side things are getting much more absurd. In the first one it seemed like a DIE HARD touch that she talked to the bad guys through a walkie talkie, but here she drops off a cell phone just to have a way to taunt them as she hunts them, almost more like Jigsaw or somebody. Honestly I detect a hint of the SLUMBER PARTY MASSACRE sequels in the way it just asks us to enjoy the funny ways our unlikely protagonist can slaughter these assholes. She uses a crossbow, a machete, a throwing knife, mace, some traps, some tools. (Stunt coordinator: Corey Pierno [TRICK, A WOUNDED FAWN].)

One strength is that it moves quickly through it’s 83 minutes. There are a few surprises and a particularly silly twist at the end that sets up an even more ridiculous part 3 that they’re hoping to do. This may or may not be the best possible way to sequelize BECKY, but I respect that it’s not repetitive. The tonal shift kept me on my toes.

There is one bit of what they call “fan service” that I actually would’ve enjoyed. There’s a scene where Becky pulls her old chipmunk hat out of a drawer and looks at it, remembering the bloodshed that occurred that time she wore it. This really had me anticipating her donning it for battle, pulling it on ritualistically, like Rambo tying his headband, but it doesn’t happen. That’s okay. Older Becky is still very cheeky: she sews the name tag from her waitress uniform onto her orange nazi-killing coveralls. She has fun with it and expresses herself. That’s what fashion is for.

As far as entertaining Nazi-killing films of 2023 go, I prefer SISU, but I’m happy for it to be a subgenre, and I hope the BECKY saga continues. Who should play the villain next time around? Do you think Carrot Top could pull off something like that? Maybe Scott’s SOUTHLAND TALES co-star Jon Lovitz? I don’t know. But I look forward to finding out.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, September 6th, 2023 at 11:32 am and is filed under Reviews, Action. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

4 Responses to “The Wrath of Becky”

  1. The Undefeated Gaul

    September 7th, 2023 at 12:32 am

    I enjoyed this one, mainly due to Lulu Wilson and Sean William Scott being great, but I much prefer the more hard-hitting, tense style of the first one. There is still plenty of violence/gore in the sequel, but it’s obviously not meant to shock you or make you queasy, you’re just supposed to laugh about the silly, over-the-top ways Becky slaughters a small handful of Nazi idiots. There is really no challenge for her at all in this one; even Stifler (who does a good job trying to be menacing) doesn’t feel dangerous because the movie makes it very clear he doesn’t have a hint of chance against her. The whole thing feels more like an insignificant side adventure to me, something that should have been a fun opening act instead of the whole movie. Even so it was entertaining enough while it lasted. I’m not sure I like the way they set up the next sequel at the end, but I’ll watch it for sure when it comes along.

  2. I loved BECKY, the movie, and I still love Becky, the character. This one was entertaining all the way through but didn’t quite stick the landing. Like Gaul said, it feels a little slight. You keep hearing about this army of incels that never shows up, and SPOILER Becky doesn’t even kill one of the few losers who does show up so the body count is a little low. Stifler is probably more convincing in his role than King of Queens was in his but he has less to do, and his quiet menace never pays off. Also BIG SPOILER I can’t believe they Xander Caged Becky at the end. I do NOT see her working for The Man.

    Also isn’t the CIA not permitted to operate within the United States? Wouldn’t taking down domestic terrorists be the FBI or the NSA’s job? I assume if they do Part 3 Becky’ll end up turning on the agency but I don’t see why the sequel teaser in this one couldn’t have been her going door-to-door Jay and Silent Bob style murdering everyone on that list one by one, financing her killing spree with a cache of money found at the coordinates in her mystical Nazi key (also SPOILER I guess). That ending made me doubt these new filmmakers really get Becky at all. But I’m willing to see where it goes.

  3. I agree this was cromulent, but not as good as the first. The tone was a little too jokey, and the “villains” didn’t pose much of a challenge to Becky outside of the inciting incident. However, I would still watch a BECKY movie every few years, like a sociopathic SEVEN UP.

    Also, they should bring in Lecy Goranson and Sarah Chalke next time, and call it BECKY THREE: THREE BECKIES.

  4. Oh man, I kind of hated this one. Well, hate is too strong a word, but it was a huge disappointment.

    It discards the tension and sense of danger of the first one, and… well, it doesn’t really replace it with anything; it’s not any crazier, gorier, funnier, or anything. It just treads water, putting an extremely likeable character through what ends up being a nothing adventure.

    The villains completely lost all credibility when they didn’t kill Becky after killing Elena. I mean, she saw all of their faces! I lost all faith in the script at that point.

    Wilson and Stifler were great, and yeah I’ll watch the next one – that last development is gonzo enough that I’d be interested in seeing where it goes – but I’m not too hopeful.

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