★★★ out of ★★★★★
🩸🩸🩸 out of 🩸🩸🩸🩸🩸 for murderous revenge, exploding heads, and nasty tricks and traps
Directed by Matt Angel and Suzanne Coop
The Wrath of Becky follows on the heels of an underground minor hit Becky in which a tween girl exacts revenge upon a group of Nazis who killed her father. This sequel keeps a similar narrative, with a group of seditious domestic terrorists called The Noble Men (similar to the Proud Boys) has run afoul of Becky (Lulu Wilson), now a sixteen-year-old working as a waitress in a diner. The aggressive men are misogynistic assholes, but Becky can hold her own.
Becky has lived the life of a foster kid since the incident that killed her father two years ago, but she found a kindred spirit, an elderly woman, Elena who has taken her in. The Noble Men, in town to meet with their cell leader Darrell (Sean William Scott) decide to track Becky after she leaves the diner, end up killing Elena, and steal her beloved mastiff, Diego. (A very impressive-looking dog.) Becky is not cool with this and she plots her bloody revenge.
The premise of this story hinges on the audience buying in to young Becky being more clever and tactical than a group of would-be militia assholes. She had, after all, honed her lethal chops in the first movie. Underestimation of the teenager is naturally key, but the bad guys, though armed to the teeth, seem only capable of self sabotage. In fact, rarely do the villains seem capable of posing much of a threat, despite their size and strength advantage over the notably petite Becky.
For those of us who tend to lean to the progressive end of the political spectrum, there is some vicarious pleasure in seeing a bunch of racist, homophobic, misogynistic goons get taken down by Becky. But in order to get real satisfaction, it would help if the bad guys seemed capable. There is more than a little similarity to Home Alone in the proceedings.
- Two guys fall victim to lethal booby traps.
- One Noble Man panics and runs.
- One Noble Man gets picked off by making himself an easy target.
- One Noble Man has a change of conscience, and is effectively removed by the leader of the cell.
- The secret boss behind the whole operations is rather unimposing.
Lulu Wilson is charismatic and dynamic as Becky. At this age, she isn’t quite as plucky as the younger Becky from the previous film, but this time it really does feel like she has the tactical advantage. Becky’s character is full of confidence, and doesn’t seem to shrink when tragedy strikes. She was born to be the little angel of death. Not the most compelling trope, but with what she is given, Wilson does a fine job with it. Some of the most enjoyable bits are when Becky breaks the fourth wall, and corrects some of the more fantastic elements in the movie, by noting events that she really wanted to happen, but settled with Plan B. And, since the Plan B actions are plenty bloody, the audience is ready to roll with it.
Seann William Scott swaps out his comedy credentials to play the glowering Cell boss Darryl, and he does feel imposing, but Darryl is not clever enough to get in front of Becky’s plans, and he self sabotages his chances by overreacting like the arch-villain he has been set up to be. Dude, you just made Becky’s job easier. Settle down!
For much of the film, Becky has the upper hand. If anything, she is the predatory monster and the thugs are merely target practice. It’s fun, and bloody, but there isn’t a whole lot of terror, unless you happen to empathize with the villains, because Becky is one to strike the fear of the almighty on right-wing wackos. You go get ’em, Becky.
The Wrath of Becky had its debut at SXSW, and like many horror films this year, also ended up at the Overlook Film Festival. The movie is not yet rated, but would qualify for an R Rating for plenty of bloodshed and profanity. It is scheduled for a September release, so it is likely to be on the festival circuit this summer.
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