In 2020, when we all needed heroes, ‘Becky’ hit our screens with Lulu Wilson playing a 14 year old badass who absolutely destroys a pack of ex-con Neo-nazis who had invaded her family’s lake house and murdered her father while looking for a key hidden years earlier. It was a film with a lot of heart, a lot of violence, and a lot of blood. I loved it! Maybe I wasn’t remembering the ending well enough, but I really didn’t anticipate a sequel, so when I heard ‘The Wrath of Becky’ was premiering a 2023’s SXSW film festival I was surprised and stoked!
Becky is 16 now, on the run from various foster homes, and constantly training to defeat any new threats that come along. You might think “what are the odds she would ever be violently attacked again?” but this is movie logic…so you know she does! This time around it’s a group of men’s rights activists in a fictional faction called the “Noble Men.” After a run in at the diner Becky works at three of them invade the home she is sharing with her dog Diego and an older, kindred spirit, named Elena. After they attack and steal her dog Becky sets off to find them and seek vengeance.
I think we can all relate to wanting revenge against anyone who fucks with our pets and our friends, and when the antagonists are a group we can all agree really suck, the violence is downright cathartic. This film smartly tempers its murderous rage with just the right amount of comedy. While much of the action leans all the way into the absurd it doesn’t go so far as being silly which is a really good balance here. Where ‘Becky’ kept things almost entirely dark, brutal, and devoid of hope, this sequel allows us to have some fun with creative kills and maiming. Giving Becky all the weapons at hand in the compound of a would-be insurrection leader was a brilliant plot choice.
Writing and directing team Matt Angel and Suzanne Coote pulled ‘The Wrath of Becky’ together in a fairly short time frame and you can feel that in the pacing. There is no wasted movement, save for the recap at the beginning which isn’t needed if you’ve seen the original but will quickly catch up anyone who may have missed it. We get an immediate sense of everyone’s personality and their role to play without much need for backstory. The three “Noble Men” we first meet at the diner, DJ (Aaron Dalla Villa), Sean (Matt Angel), and Anthony (Michael Sirow), are fairly one dimensional characters, but when they meet Darryl (Seann Williams Scott) Becky gets a much more challenging adversary and viewers get a more compelling character. Willams Scott has stepped out of his usual comfort zone with Darryl and he really nails it. As a former Army Ranger Darryl is not only a highly skilled killer, he is also ice cold and calculating. Another treat for astute horror fans will be Darryl’s sidekick Twig, a fascist banjo-playing hillbilly, played by an almost unrecognizable Courtney Gains (‘Children of the Corn’).
I don’t think anyone will be describing this film as innovative or ground breaking–the dog rescue definitely brings in ‘John Wick’ vibes–but as a straightforward action horror it’s a damn good time. Fans of ‘Becky’ may have a hard time reconciling the lighter moments of this sequel and possibly this would have benefited as a standalone, unrelated story, but getting Lulu Wilson back in ass kicking mode is enough to get me on board!
SXSW Review: ‘The Wrath of Becky’ Tempers Its Murderous Rage With Absurdity