Is there anything better than a grisly horror film with a bad ass female lead? What about one where said female is an eleven-year-old girl who rocks a knitted fox cap and kicks the ass of a Neo-Nazi who’s just recently escaped from prison?
This past storm-filled weekend, I watched Becky, a film written by Nick Morris, Lane Skye, and Ruckus Skye, and starring Lulu Wilson and Kevin James. Although there were some obvious plot holes that I found myself questioning, overall, I thoroughly appreciated the film for its brutality, absolute carnage, and complete and utter badassery.
The film opens with a side by side shot of a young, seemingly misunderstood pre-teen girl being bullied in a school hallway and a hardened criminal masterminding the attack of a fellow inmate in the prison yard. This approach fulfills its purpose of showcasing the similarities between these two seemingly opposite characters.
We quickly learn that Becky is an eccentric girl who clearly marches to the beat of her own drum. She’s quiet but calculating and has a mischievous side to her; case and point, we witness her stealing candy from a convenience store. Simultaneously, we see Dominick, the leader of a prison Neo-Nazi regime, being transported in a van from which he eventually escapes along with his followers.
Later that day, Becky and her father, Jeff, travel to their family lake house. They get into a heated conversation in which we discover that Becky’s mother had passed away from cancer, resulting in her becoming angry and guarded. Upon arriving at the house, Becky is outraged when she sees her father’s new girlfriend, Kayla, and her young son, Ty, pulling up to spend the weekend. To add insult to injury, Jeff breaks the news that he has proposed to Kayla and they are to be married. Seething, Becky calls for her trusted companion, Cane Corso, Diego, and sets out for her tree house in the woods.
Almost immediately thereafter, the doorbell rings and we find Dominick standing on the porch, asking Becky’s soon-to-be stepmother if she’s seen his missing Rottweiler. Dominick almost forces himself into the home, and upon seeing the family’s other dog, Dora, a smaller Cane Corso, begins a rant about pure bred canines and not disrupting the bloodline, clearly referencing Jeff and Kayla’s relationship. When Becky’s father intervenes and asks Dominick to leave, the atmosphere turns hostile and they come face to face with one of Dominick’s followers, Apex, a tank of a man who practically breaks down the door to enter the home. Apex chases Kayla and Ty into a bedroom and breaks the cellphone she took to call the police. Instead of harming them, he tells them to leave out the backdoor, leaving viewers wondering where this act of kindness came from. Dominick ties up Jeff and asks about a key that he left in the house some time ago. Jeff, clearly confused, denies knowledge of a key. This key becomes central to the entire movie.
Still in her tree house, Becky hears noises and looks out a window with her binoculars to see Kayla and Ty running quickly down the path towards her, followed by Dora. They are stopped by two other Neo-Nazis, also a part of Dominick’s crew, who shoot and kill the quickly approaching Dora and take Kayla and Ty back to the house.
After Dominick ties up Kayla and Ty, he makes his way down to the basement and moves wooden boards about, locating a small tin box which he opens and finds empty. Enraged, he scours the basement looking for the key until he makes his way to a ladder surrounded by a child’s drawings and toys. When he climbs the ladders and pushes through the obstruction above, he ends up in a child’s bedroom. He finds a backpack with “Becky” embroidered on it and a cellphone. When he returns to the living room, Dominick asks Jeff about Becky. Jeff lies, saying she’s in Chicago with her mother, which Dominick does not buy (What child leaves their cellphone and backpack behind?). Becoming frustrated, he attempts to make Jeff talk by threatening to shoot Kayla, Jeff refuses so Dominick shoots her in the thigh. As he’s about to shoot Ty, we hear Becky over a walkie-talkie saying she’s gone to the neighbor’s house and called the cops. Knowing that the nearest neighbor is over a mile away and deducing that the low-quality walkie-talkie would not reach more than a few hundred feet, Dominick calls Becky on her bluff and sends his thugs out to find her.
In addition, to prove he is serious, Dominick orders Apex to bring Jeff outside to the fire pit. He calls out for Becky on the walkie-talkie and threatens to hurt her father if she does not return with the key. When Becky refuses, he brands Jeff’s face with a fire poker and then stabs him in the stomach with it. While Jeff screams for Becky to run, he manages to escape the hold of Apex and Dominick and attempts to run back towards the house. As he approaches a clearing, he is met with a frightened Becky. He pleads once more for her to run, but instead ends up being shot from behind by an approaching Dominick. Dominick attempts to grab Becky, but she stabs him in the eye with the key and takes off into the woods.
Becky returns to the tree house and rummages for makeshift weapons. She arms herself with sharpened colored pencils taped together and a broken ruler. When the first thug approaches, the one who killed Dora, Becky uses her zip-line for an aerial attack. She jabs the ruler into his neck, bringing him to his knees, and stabs him multiple times with the improvised shiv. To finish him off, she stomps profusely on the protruding ruler, sending it clear through his neck. The scene is ruthless. The blood that splatters on Becky’s face and the sounds of gurgling blood in the thug’s throat only add to the brutality of the scene itself, allowing us to witness (and feel) Becky’s pain and anger towards the man who wronged her.
When the second thug finds the corpse of his accomplice, he chases Becky through the woods to a nearby dock. Overly confident that she has nowhere to go, he charges her, only to stumble forward over a planted tripwire, landing chest first on a wooden plank with rusty nails protruding from the surface. Screaming in agony, he attempts to yank the board from his chest, but instead, is met with a shrieking Becky swinging another nail-filled plank into his face and then his neck. The two struggle until he falls off the dock into the lake, shouting that he cannot swim. Becky undocks a small motorboat that is sitting idle in the water, reverses it towards him, and shreds through his neck and face with the boat’s sharp motor, quickly turning the lake a dark crimson. A second gory revenge kill against the home invaders that illustrates why Becky is not one to be messed with. Not to mention it was (more than) a little satisfying.
As Becky hikes back towards the house to save Kayla and Ty, she is met with Apex. He chases her, body slams her to the ground and attempts to choke her. After a few seconds he releases her, rambling about his guilt and tells her he is done with all of this. He walks away leaving Becky stunned and viewers relieved.
Back at the house we find a chaotic and impatient Dominick pacing. When he decides to search outside for Apex and the others, he hears singing. He follows the voice to the fire pit and finds Becky. He goes on and on about their similarities, bringing viewers back to the initial scene parallels, and calls for a truce. Becky refuses, stands up from her chair, and picks up a water gun. Cute child’s toy, right? Wrong. She aims it at the fire and sprays, sending flames towards Dominick, engulfing him. Dominick somehow manages to put out the flames and rushes her. He towers over her, pointing a gun in her face. Just as he’s about to pull the trigger, Apex returns, tackling him to the ground. Who would’ve thought we’d be happy to see Apex? Becky takes this opportunity to sprint to the garage and jump onto an ATV. An ATV with a lawnmower attachment. The two men are still fighting outside, and eventually, seeing Becky riding towards them, Apex manages to punch Dominick and roll out of the way just in time for Becky to run him over with the mower, grinding his face clean in half. As they say, save the best gore for last.
After we get over what we just saw, we return to see Apex expressing his gratitude to Becky, exclaiming he’s a changed man. Not buying it, Becky shoots him in the head with Dominick’s gun. That was surprising, but probably the only option after everything that happened.
The film ends with the police questioning Becky about the events that transpired while Becky feigns obliviousness. Before the screen goes dark, we see Becky smirk. And we are totally on her side.