Lulu Wilson, Kevin James, Joe McHale
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…Home Alone, on steroids.
Diminutive thirteen-year-old Becky Hooper’s (Lulu Wilson, The Haunting of Hill House, Sharp Objects) doing it tough, recently nursing her cancer-stricken mother to an early grave. She’s also pushed around at school by bullies, and the relationship with her father Jeff (Joel McHale) is challenging at best.
Dad takes her away to the family’s country cottage in a bid to appease her before announcing that he’s getting remarried to Kayla (Amanda Brugel, TV’s Snowpiercer, The Handmaid’s Tale) – who he’s also invited on the retreat along with her young son! It’s enough to send Becky scurrying off into the woods to her ‘fort’, lamenting her misfortune. Ensconced in her cubby, she finds the film’s Macguffin, a peculiar looking key. Desperate to get their hands on the key are a pack of neo-Nazi prison escapees, led by Dominick (Kevin James), whose harrowing escape from incarceration we follow alongside the Hoopers’ journey to the country estate.
When the Nazis turn up, a weekend away becomes a living nightmare as the goons stop at nothing in an attempt to get the key, but Becky’s steely determination for vengeance stands in their way.
Directed by Jonathan Milot and Cary Murnion, whose previous work includes the action thriller Bushwick and zombie comedy Cooties (in which the violent protagonists are also kids), there is a sense of mirth accompanying the gore in Becky. A comparison might be Home Alone, on steroids. Exhibit A: when Dominick has to cut out his own eyeball after Becky gouges it out with the mysterious key, or, Exhibit B: when huge thug with a conscience, Apex (great work by Robert Maillet) pleads to Becky, an eighth of his size, for his life.
Lulu Wilson is excellent as Becky, and it’s great to see the usually goofy Kevin James in a more serious role, one that he negotiates with aplomb. The supporting thugs, Cole (Ryan McDonald) and Hammond (James McDougall) are also convincing, particularly as they meet their maker in the grimmest of circumstances.
While Nick Morris, Lane Skye and Ruckus Skye’s screenplay leaves questions unanswered, Becky will appeal to grindhouse genre fans; in years to come it may even find its way into classic cinema territory a la Kick Ass.