Becky Review: A fun, fast-paced, gory good time that presents a darker shade of Kevin James
It’s always interesting to see comedy actors take a dramatic turn in their career – regardless if its good or bad. Adam Sandler has had a few strong dramatic performances in films like Punch Drunk Love and Uncut Gems and I’ll never forget the incredible performance Jim Carrey gives in The Truman Show. Now, it looks like comedian Kevin James is ready to his more serious, and much darker, side in the action/thriller Becky.
The film follows Becky (Lulu Wilson) – a teenager still reeling from her mother’s death and is reluctantly going with her father (Joel McHale) to their lake house. Unhappy about being forced to spend the weekend with her father’s new fiancé (Amanda Brugel) and her son (Isaiah Rockcliffe), Becky goes to her hideaway and isn’t cooperative about leaving her old life with her mother behind. However, their lake house is intruded by a destructive neo-Nazi named Dominick (James) and other dangerous prisoners that have just escaped captivity. With her father and possible new family in danger, Becky springs into action and gives these prisoners a brutal, relentless, and deadly challenge they never expected.
At a first glance, Becky is that kind You’re Next styled home invasion thriller that we’ve seen before – except with characters and a plot that’s nothing too special. Most of the characters are just there to add to the body count and the film struggles to make use of its character interactions or Becky’s troubled family dynamics to creating something unique or interesting. The conflict between Becky and her father is pretty typical and kind of makes him look like a jerk because of how certain details about Becky’s mother passing are shown. The film also plays its neo-Nazi antagonist a little too safe and kind of generic. It comes off like an aspect used to create a sense of impending tension, because Becky’s father’s fiancé and her son are both black, that never really goes anywhere and doesn’t add anything to the plot. The film also kind of betrays the likable strengths that Becky gains in taking down Dominick and his crew with an ending that makes her seem psychotic for some reason. There’s nothing to gain or think about with this ending and it isn’t satisfying because it makes a more evil or devious turn that it doesn’t build enough around.
Even with the story pitfalls and lack of uniqueness with Becky, the film still remains an incredibly fun watch through the strong performances, direction, and crazy kills. Wilson really makes Becky a formidable foe with a drive and sense of brutality that makes her more than capable of taking down some escaped prisoners. Her feelings about her mother dying are made relatable, the scene of her suiting up to take action against her captors is legitimately bad ass, and Wilson creates this likability and sense of wit for Becky that’ll easily put you in her corner and rooting for her for most of the way.
As for James, it’s incredibly interesting to see him in such a different light. He makes Dominick’s dark and methodical attitude the perfect tone for this kind of antagonist and the way the film opens perfectly shows him as an orchestrator – which James continues throughout the rest of the film. It’s definitely a much darker side to James’ acting ability that’s rarely seen, and I actually think he ended being a great choice – especially since Simon Pegg was originally supposed to play the role instead of James. Not to mention, Dominick’s right hand man, Apex (Robert Maillet), earns his name as the sheer sight of him is pure intimidation and his softness towards kids at least makes him standout amongst the slew of weak supporting characters.
The direction from co-directors Jonathan Milott and Cary Murnion is also solid and they do a great job keeping things fluid. The way the film opens with match cuts between Becky and Dominick immediately grabs your attention and they keeps this up through the film with a strong style. The score from Nima Fakhrara is also great and there’s this use of this breathing sound that amplifies Becky’s build up to becoming a deadly foe that’s awesome. The kills are also totally nuts and filled with enough blood and gore to please any and all kinds of gore hounds. There’s a nice build up to these kills that shows Becky’s capableness and are absolutely shocking in the moment. They’re the kind of kills that immediately sends chills down your back and are kind of satisfying given how much Becky has to overcome in the moment.
Becky offers enough thrills and gory chills to overcome its generic character threads and plot and boasts a strong lead performance from Wilson as well as a darker side to James that would be interesting to see again. It’s a fun, fast-paced, blood-soaked good time that offers a new kick ass and capable young heroine taking down invaders in an unbelievably brutal fashion.