What do brutal prisoners and a loving family have in common? At first, you would say ‘nothing,’ but after watching Becky, by directors Jonathan Milott (“Cooties”) and Cary Murnion (“Cooties”), you probably change your mind. While watching “Becky” you will be able to find out what that connection is, but sadly, that revelation wasn’t good enough to make from “Becky” a good movie.
Hefty men, full of tattoos and not the most good looking ones. Yep, both Milott and Murnion put you right into a dangerous prison. However, one moment after that, you meet the teenager Becky (Lulu Wilson) and her father, Jeff (Joel McHale). That’s actually how the first twenty minutes are. You see how brutal the escaped prisoners can be and how loving and fun Becky and Jeff are. Watching how the convicts shatter families and how Becky, Jeff, and his new girlfriend Kayla (Amanda Brugel) and stepson Ty (Isaiah Rockcliffe) are starting a new one.
One day, those dark and bright worlds collide at the family holiday home. The reason? A key! Which key? What key? Yep, the felons are looking for a key that would be in Becky and her family’s possession. But what’s the key for, what makes it so important, etc.? Those are the biggest questions in this movie, ones you might have to wait a very long time to get answers to (as if). What follows is a dark cat-and-mouse game during which more questions arise than solved and during which much collateral damage occurs. Will we finally find out what the key is for and why it’s so important, or will these questions be unsolved?
If you get answers to those questions, it won’t be until the very end. Those questions lingering for a long time wouldn’t be a problem if the film would be captivating and intriguing enough the whole time. Sadly, that’s not the case when it comes to “Becky.”
The main reason for that is the way the characters were written. They lack depth and personality. You have the gang’s rough-tough leader, one of his ‘dumb servants’ who might have feelings, the headstrong teenager, the new love, etc. Because of the flat and predictable characters, the cast doesn’t get the chance to shine. Wilson (“Annabelle: Creation,” “Ouija: Origin of Evil”) is the only one who’s capable of putting her shoulders underneath this movie. She’s a delight to watch as the vindictive, bad-ass, and witty teenager. She and her on-screen father McHale (“Dark Harbor,” “Stuck”) have lovely chemistry, despite McHale not being able to show all his potential. Apart from Wilson, there’s also Brugel (“Kodachrome,” “Sadie’s Last Days on Earth”), who brings a strong female presence to this movie as the tenacious (step)mother.
Usually, the prisoners are rough-tough and ruthless guys, but in this movie, they’re everything but that. A few tattoos and some bloody scratches don’t make from Kevin James (“Little Boy,” “The Dilemma”) as Dominick a prisoner you want to run away from. Despite his colossal build, Robert Maillet (“Deadpool 2”, “Sherlock Holmes”) can’t (emotionally) convince us as inmate Apex. The latter is mostly because of the predictability of the character.
The movie starts very promisingly because of its brilliant editing. Editor Alan Canant (“And Then I Go,” “Transpecos”) really puts a smile on your face, especially at the beginning, when he combines the happy family life and the dark life in prison in a great way. You will see more of that excellent editing throughout the movie, thanks to which “Becky” gets some punch. In an action-packed movie like this one, the score typically adds danger to the cat-and-mouse game. There are some moments in which the music in this movie does that, especially when it comes to enhancing Becky’s rage, but sometimes the score is just misused. There’s also the light vs. dark cinematography, which adds a dangerous and sinister vibe to this movie but only to a certain degree.
Maybe we should cut “Becky” some slack as it’s only the second full-length feature film from Milott and Murnion. Both men are more experienced in making short movies, and the story of “Becky” would make a great starting point for a short. However, despite some beautiful performances, “Becky” didn’t convince us for the full 100% because of the flat characters.