The sequel to 2020’s BECKY gleefully deals out another helping of ultraviolence.
Becky (2020) was a somewhat unique take on the home invasion survival film. The film was the story of surly teenage year old Becky (Lulu Wilson), who’s on a weekend getaway with her dad (Joel McHale) and soon-to-be stepmom at their remote lake house when a gang of skinheads descends on the home looking for a mysterious key. Still mourning the death of her mother and angry at her father’s announcement to remarry, the young girl is filled with the kind of rabid, visceral teen rage that goes atomic once her father is killed by the skinheads for trying to keep his daughter safe. She then spends the entire film gleefully unleashing carnage against her foes, killing and maiming them in ways that would make Kevin McCallister’s blood turn cold.
Other than the extreme violence, the other thing that really made Becky unique is its take on the protagonist. Becky isn’t super girly or seen through the male gaze. She’s a bit of a tomboy, independent and with her own agency out of the gate. The film relies on the death of her parents and dog to propel Becky through the narrative, avoiding sexualized violence. The skinheads were led by Kevin James, playing against type in a very unnerving performance as the manipulative leader of a white supremacist gang. Needless to say, thanks to the raw unencumbered rage of a 13-year-old girl, the gang didn’t stand a chance. (For those that find this at all unbelievable, wait until you have a teenager.)
At SXSW, the sequel to Becky just screened, aptly titled Wrath of Becky. The movie catches up with our favorite killer a few years later. After jumping from foster home to foster home, Becky is now holed up in a small town training, working at a diner, and somewhat enjoying her reprieve. When she throws coffee on one of the members of “The Noble Men” after he makes a derogatory remark, the group pays her a late night visit and gets the narrative ball rolling. They not only kill the kind old woman who runs Becky’s boarding house, but kidnap her dog, putting Becky on the hunt for another group of fascists. This time, the gang leader is played by Seann William Scott, who is simply chilling here.
The biggest difference this time around is Becky is meeting her prey on their home turf as the hunter, rather than as the prey. The Proud Boy proxy “Noble Men’’ are also a bit more organized and formidable as a foe, giving our protagonist more of a fight than the keystone cop-esque skinheads. Wilson essentially channels every tough guy from every movie about a reluctant hero who is pushed too far and is then tasked with getting vengeance. And it works, thanks to the young actor who imbues Becky with a tough yet damaged veneer. There’s trauma we can discern beneath the surface that is both her fuel and her fire as she struggles not to burn out before she completes her task during the runtime. Lulu goes from vulnerable to impenetrable with a single line of dialogue, and she pulls off that transformation flawlessly to craft a character that allows the audience to almost instantly grab onto her.
The action here is coherent and for the most part works, but the film is careful to address the elephant in the room. Hand-to0hand, Becky would easily be overpowered by most of these guys, so it’s more a match of wits as well as a match of strength. While the set pieces still pay off in garish spectacles, they lack the raw emotion of the kills in the first film. That said, Directors Matt Angel and Suzanne Coote craft a clever sequel that will please fans, while tearing Becky’s world wide open for future possibilities.
Wrath of Becky is a worthy successor to the original that gives the gory goods while also evolving the character through her latest trauma. Becky is a different person at the end of this film than the beginning. It’s not an easy move, but Angel and Coote do a remarkable job at using the action and pathos to further develop the character, rather than simply get her to her next group of fascists to exterminate. This is also thanks to Wilson, who isn’t afraid to get lost in Beck for another outing to continue her search for happiness. Wrath of Becky is a blood-drenched blast from start to finish and the perfect film for any genre fan looking for a bit of that ultraviolence.