SXSW 2023 Review: THE WRATH OF BECKY, Hell Hath No Fury Like This Teenage Girl's Scorn
Becky is back, and this time it’s… pretty much the same as last time.
Three years ago, the world witnessed one of the craziest heel turns in recent history, funny guy Kevin James (The King of Queens, Paul Blart: Mall Cop) turned up in Jonathan Milott and Cary Murnion’s uber violent Home Alone riff, Becky as vicious neo-Nazi, Dominick. As insane as that sounded to a lot of film fans at the time, it actually worked. James played his villain dead straight, and he was legitimately terrifying.
Becky pitted James against the fourteen-year-old titular character, played to smarmy perfection by Lulu Wilson, as he and his gang of murderous white supremacists sought a very particular artifact that just happened to be located in the cabin where Becky and her new blended family were staying. Spoiler alert, it did not go well for Dominick, and within the mayhem, Becky lost everyone she loved, leaving her alone and traumatized.
Wrath of Becky catches up with our heroine two years later, attempting to rebuild her life after a string of unsuccessful foster placements, close to aging out of the system, when she finally connects with one of her guardians, a sympathetic older African American woman named Elena (Denise Burse). Unfortunately for Becky, just as quickly as this lifeline is given to her, fate strips it away when she is once again attacked by white supremacists – different ones this time – in a botched home invasion that ends with a death in the family, and a stolen dog.
Determined to get vengeance for those one she’s lost and get her dog back, Becky – now a seasoned vigilante after the events of the first film – tracks down her attackers and will not stop until they are all dead. This time, though, her foe is smarter and more savvy than last time. The hoodlums that broke into her house were just messing around, but they answer to Darryl (Seann William Scott), the leader of The Noble Men, a politically focused far right extremist group. That’s a fancy way of saying upscale white supremacists. Darryl is smarter than Dominick was, but then again, Becky is also smarter than she was two years ago, and when the two go head to head, it’s not going to be pretty.
Back in 2020, Becky brought the energy of a deranged Home Alone to the proceedings, but in this case, she’s the aggressor seeking out her quarry and making them pay. It’s one of a ton of tiny deviations from what is essentially the same story. It’s still a revenge story, but she’s now on the offensive, rather than the defensive. There’s not a lot new here beyond that, and some interesting new, but for fans of the original there’s definitely plenty to love.
It’s an interesting choice to change out the entire original creative team from one film to the next, but it mostly works. Milott and Murnion are replaced by Matt Angel and Susanne Coote, and the original writers are also supplanted by Angel. While conventional wisdom might suggest that this kind of reconfiguration would lead the film in a different direction, that’s very much not what we get here. Wrath of Becky is very similar in tone, perhaps a bit more muscular in the execution and with the benefit of a more seasoned Scott as the antagonist.
Where James’s villain was more about brute force, Scott’s Darryl is more cerebral, though that doesn’t stop him from displaying the kind of brutality we expect from a Becky film. Wilson’s Becky, for her part is more determined and hardened to battle, which leads to some particularly nasty executions in the name of revenge. If the first film was Home Alone, this one is a bit more John Wick, only with less martial arts and more exploding fascist rednecks, and that is totally cool with me.
The Wrath of Becky
- Matt Angel
- Suzanne Coote
- Matt Angel
- Suzanne Coote
- Nick Morris
- Lulu Wilson
- Seann William Scott
- Denise Burse