The Wrath of Becky
by Hope Madden
Back in 2012, Lulu Wilson carved out a frighteningly believable pissed-off adolescent in Jonathan Milott and Cary Murnion’s Becky. As had been the case with the filmmakers’ 2014 horror Cooties, the duo indulges a subversive fantasy that makes you laugh and turn away in equal measure – often at the same moment.
Wilson returns with new directors Matt Angel and Suzanne Coote in The Wrath of Becky, playing the slightly older, no less angry youngster.
Becky and her trusty hound Diego have been on the lam for several years. They’ve found a kind of peace living off the grid with elderly misanthrope Elena (Denise Burse) and making a living at a nearby diner. That peace is shattered when some Proud Boys – I’m sorry, some Noble Men – come to town.
Last time around, Becky did serious damage to a handful of neo-Nazis. Seeing her gut and dismember Proud Boy stand-ins promised to be very fun. Cathartic, even. And it sometimes is, but too often the sequel gets lazy.
Seann William Scott (Goon, American Pie) leads up the contemptible group of baddies with a quietly sinister performance that carries a lot of weight. Jill Larson (The Taking of Deborah Logan), though underused, brings a sassy surprise to the villainy and Aaron Dalla Villa is spot on as the slacker smartass of the group.
Last time around, writers Ruckus and Lane Skye and Nick Morris offered their game cast a bit of intrigue and plot. The sequel’s script, penned by Angel, Coote and Becky’s Morris, misses any of the depth beneath the murder spree.
Gone, too, is the tentative logic behind Becky’s bloodbath logistics. Millot and Murnion showed you how a 12-year-old managed not only to outwit the bad guys, but to physically annihilate them. Angel and Coote do not. They cut away, then cut back and miraculously Becky has accomplished something that defies not only reason but the laws of the known universe as well as the actual story itself.
In fact, every character makes a series of choices that defy the very storyline the film itself is trying to establish. Once or twice is forgivable, but eventually this lapse in internal logic becomes a real burden.
Wilson’s schtick lacks some of the vibrance of the original film, partly because watching a pre-teen on a murder spree is simply more novel, shocking and funny than witnessing another angry teen on a rampage. It would have helped if the filmmakers tried a little harder to convince us Becky could do it.