M.L. Miller here and welcome to my tenth anniversary Best in Horror Countdown! Every day in this glorious month of October I’ll be counting down the best in horror, culminating with the best horror film since last Halloween! With theaters closed for the bulk of this shitty, shitty year, much of the countdown comes from alternative sources like streaming services, digital download, and On Demand. Plus, we saw the return of the drive-in theater, which is awesome! This list compiles the best horror films released beginning on October 1, 2019 and ending on September 30, 2020. No elitism here—only films released to the public on this list which rules out haughty festival flicks that only esteemed reviewers get to see. If it played on a public screen this year, it’s fair game to be on the list. Here we go!
Released on June 5, 2020. Available on digital download and On Demand from Quiver Entertainment!!
Directed by Jonathan Milott, Cary Murnion
Written by Nick Morris, Lane Skye, Ruckus Skye
Starring Lulu Wilson, Kevin James, Joel McHale, Amanda Brugel, Robert Maillet, Ryan McDonald, James McDougall, Isaiah Rockcliffe
What if Juno from movie JUNO took on Paul Blart and his racist friends in a no holds barred tussle at a cabin in the woods? The answer plays out in the highly entertaining BECKY, a harrowing action revenge tale proving that little things can be extremely dangerous when forced into a corner.
Becky (ANNABELLE: CREATION and OUIJA: THE ORIGIN OF EVIL’s Lulu Wilson) is an angry teen. Her mother died from cancer a year ago, the kids at school are a bunch of idiot assholes, and her dad (Joel McHale) has just let her know he’s remarrying. While spending a weekend at their cabin in the woods, Becky is supposed to get used to the idea of having Kayla (Amanda Brugel) as her new stepmom. But she’s not having it. After she stomps out during dinner and hides in her secret fort in the woods with her dog, Becky is oblivious when a group of escaped convicts lead by a psychotic manipulator named Dominick (Kevin James) has invaded her cabin and taken the family hostage. With Becky in possession of a key that Dominick and his gang hid at the cabin years ago, she finds herself the only one with some kind of leverage over the man-monsters. Dominick wants to negotiate a trade with Becky, but he’s about to find out Becky doesn’t play well with others.
BECKY is an extremely violent and over the top revenge flick pitting a 13-year-old girl against four vicious Neo-Nazis. Through force of will, cunning beyond her years, and all kinds of sharp and dangerous objects a girl her age shouldn’t be playing with, Becky ruthlessly battles Dominick and his pals in a bloody game of death. The violence here is brutal and resonant as each warring faction tears at each other and leaves giant chunks of themselves on the floor. This film can be categorized as a hard-R HOME ALONE that definitely isn’t for the kiddies. And I loved pretty much all of it.
Lulu Wilson is great here. She’s played the creepy kid before, but the level of hell she unleashes here is biblical. While her reaction to the home invasion is extreme and violent, Wilson sells it though guttural screams and blood-spattered tantrums. She convincingly plays a troubled teen that is truly a force to be reckoned. You almost feel sorry for these convicts if they weren’t so despicable.
The big highlight of BECKY is going to be that this is Kevin James’ first stab at a dramatic role. And while I was half-expecting him to start chasing Becky on a Segway and to fall down hilariously over and over, I have to admit, James is quite effective as the skin headed Dominick. He’s got a couple of monologues that are downright chilling and his ability to manipulate and control those with smaller minds around him are qualities he truly sells. This is a scary man, James plays, but one you can understand how he got to the top of the heap behind bars. A lot of that has to do with a very taught and to the point script from Nick Morris, Lane Skye, and Ruckus Skye, but James delivers the lines with dedication and menace. You will believe Paul Blart can kill for the Aryan Brotherhood.
There’s also a surprisingly nuanced performance by Robert Maillet (SHERLOCK HOLMES’ hammer swinging giant and the WWE’s Kurrgan). He is not your typical tough guy as he plays a convict who, now that he has his freedom, is ready to leave his violent past behind him. It was fascinating seeing this mammoth-sized man being pulled in all directions as Dominick attempts to manipulate him to go against his own gut feelings. It’s a performance that didn’t need to be in this film but makes it better and deeper because it’s there.
The brutality of the action in BECKY is definitely going to surprise people. While the film occasionally skirts on the edge of believability, everyone involved seems convicted to the tone and unafraid to go to some Medieval avenues more conventional films are afraid to tread. Just when I thought the film was going to reel off the tracks, though, it maintained the course and recovered. There’s also the lack of explanation as to why the key is in the cabin in the first place and how Becky found it, but the action and pace of this film is so fast and frantic that I have no idea where they could have dropped those details in without skidding the story to a halt with a flashback.
Some might criticize BECKY for borrowing heavily from action classics like DIE HARD and even exploitative grindhousers like I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE and LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT, thankfully minus the sexual assault, everything feels fresh when played out by these specific actors and with this distinct scenario of having a pre-teen being the one unleashing a unhinged dose of vengeance.
BECKY is a beast of a film that lives in the moment. It’s a lean monster of a movie that is poised to pounce when you least expect it. BECKY is a star making performance for Lulu Wilson and Robert Maillet. It also proves that Kevin James has more to offer than just slapstick. Directors Jonathan Milott and Cary Murnion unleash BECKY at a breakneck pace and a fearless attitude. It’s an all-around gory good time and those who like their action gritty and gross shouldn’t miss it.
THE 2019-2020 COUNTDOWN!
#20 – BECKY
#21 – UNDERWATER
#22 – THE DEAD CENTER
#23 – BLOOD MACHINES
#24 – ALONE
#25 – THE BEACH HOUSE
#26 – AMULET
#27 – LAKE OF DEATH
#28 – SEA FEVER
#29 – THE RENTAL
#30 – ANTRUM: THE DEADLIEST FILM EVER MADE
#31 – REPLACE
M. L. Miller is a wordslinger/writer of wrongs/reviewer/interviewer/editor of MLMILLERWRITES.COM. Follow @Mark_L_Miller.
Interested in advertising on MLMILLERWRITES? Feel free to contact me here and we can talk turkey!
Don’t forget to share, like, and come back tomorrow for more reviews!