“Becky,” a new thriller featuring former sitcom star Kevin James as the King of Criminals, and now on VOD, is a mix of home invasion movies like “The Strangers” and plucky-kid-fights-back flicks like “Home Alone.”
Lulu Wilson is the title character, a fourteen-year-old who never got over the death of her mother. When her father Jeff (Joel McHale) announces his engagement to girlfriend Kayla (Amanda Brugel), Becky goes ballistic and takes off into the woods behind their weekend cottage, hiding out in a treehouse fort. She narrowly misses the arrival of Dominick (James), a neo-Nazi with a swastika tattooed on the back of his bald head, and his goons. They’re there looking for a key that was supposed to be in a container in the basement.
Trouble is, it isn’t there.
Thinking Jeff knows where it is Dominick resorts to the usual home invasion techniques of information gathering—intimidation, snarly rhetoric and when all else fails, torture—not realizing that Becky is lurking in the woods. When he discovers where she is, and that she has the key, he sends the goons to get her. What he doesn’t realize is that the tween is, “as strong willed and vindictive as they come.”
Cue the homemade deathtraps and bloodshed. “There once was a little girl who had a little curl in the middle of her forehead,” she taunts Dom. “When she was good she was very, very good but when she was bad she was horrid.”
“Becky,” I suppose, was to be to Kevin James what “Foxcatcher” was to Steve Carell, or Mo’Nique in “Precious,” a way to break out of comedy and into drama. While it is shocking to see the “King of Queens” without a quip on his lips or Adam Sandler at his side, that’s the only shocking part of this performance. Perhaps it’s his hilariously stilted dialogue or maybe it’s just hard to take a guy who made a career playing a heroic mall cop seriously.
Either way, he’s supposed to be a bad, bad man but compared to Becky he’s a peacenik. Set loose in the woods, the teenager calls on every ounce of her bottled-up rage to unleash holy, bloody hell on the men who did her family wrong. She lets her freak flag fly in ways that would make Anton Chigurh look positively tame by comparison.
“Becky” doesn’t have a whole lot of surprises. Instead it relies on bloody situations to drive the horror of its message home.