The Wrath of Becky Improves on the Original Revenge Romp

Image courtesy of Quiver Distribution

Those who remember the 2020 streaming cult hit Becky will be initially shocked at the opening of The Wrath of Becky. The death-dealing final girl we remember drenched in blood and crowned with a kid’s knit animal hat is seen dressed in dainty white and wearing pigtails. Now 16 years old, she’s entering a prospective foster family’s home, saying all the right things, laying on the Christian spirituality nice and thick. Who the f*ck is this girl? We are thinking we’re being winked at, but we’re not entirely sure.

Maybe all the tragedy she survived has changed her. Sure enough, when Becky is tucked into bed and drops a magical “I love you” that melts her new caretaker’s heart, the elaborate ruse ends. Nima Fakhrara’s heavy electronic score kicks in, Lulu Wilson makes eye contact with the camera, and the real Becky arrives to bounce out of this lame house and go on her own.

A woman in coveralls with badges stands with sunglasses.
Image courtesy of Quiver Distribution

With the score still jamming, a swiftly-edited graphic novel-style opening credits montage of drawn images by artist Micah Brenner whisks viewers visually through the last two years for our titular avenging angel. The violent home invasion that claimed the life of her father granted her a bloodlust she has not entirely shaken. Becky attempts to make ends meet as a diner waitress at the Scotchwood Diner living under the roof of a solitary senior woman named Elena (Denise Burse of The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey), who picked Becky up, no questions asked, as a hitchhiker.

The chief tenet Elena tries to instill in the damaged Becky in The Wrath of Becky is recognizing and, ultimately, voicing gratitude for the things in her life, even after her very clear losses. At first, it was a matter of Elena modeling good manners before it became a deeper mantra of inner peace to soften Becky’s short fuse. For a film hellbent on the promised confrontations to come, this moral goal becomes a very apt foundation for this sequel.

A woman looks down with wide eyes while covered in blood.
Image courtesy of Quiver Distribution

The simultaneous good news and bad news of gaining the capacity for gratitude is that the character trait hasn’t entirely taken hold. Becky can still turn horrid on a dime. She can function in public hiding behind the embroidered name badge of her work uniform while retreating to the woods geared up to practice her now-ingrained sense of adversarial preparedness. Lulu Wilson’s narration of Becky’s mental thoughts (which are occasionally acted out for fun) fill us in on the tug-of-war between positive moments of reflection and the flashes of violent thoughts that take her away.

Right before all of the incredibly entertaining shit hits the fan in The Wrath of Becky, Wilson’s internal monologue drops in to present a moment of podunk zen to say:

“I fantasize a lot about the things I’d like to do to the people who piss me off. I have always had an active imagination, but it’s really gone into overdrive these last couple of years.”

At the end of that great couple of lines, Becky intentionally spills a cup of coffee on one rude customer of a group of three neo-fascist “Noble Men” (Fortress’s Michael Sirow, jokester Aaron Dalla Villa, and the co-director himself Matt Angel). She plays it off with apologies, but we know the zeal is there. For a moment, Becky messes with the wrong guys after they follow her back to Elena’s place, attack the women, and steal her dog Diego.

A bearded man confronts a teenage girl in the woods in The Wrath of Becky
Image courtesy of Quiver Distribution

Alas, a switch has been flipped in The Wrath of Becky and the old rage has now been activated. This is now the mistake of the Noble Men and their local chain of command that peaks with Seann William Scott’s Daryl and his right-hand redneck Twig (the long-lost 80s teen actor Courtney Gains). Unbeknownst initially to Becky, the fakely patriotic Noble Men are planning to spark a violent act of insurrection against a local senator at an upcoming public rally.

Once Becky captures the first of her misogynistic victims underestimating her, she rants about how guns bore her. We observe her aforementioned active imagination dreaming up more innovative ways to kill people and measure out the proper suffering along the way. With a sly smile, weapons of preference are important in The Wrath of Becky. That, of course, opens the prop cabinet treasure trove to all sorts of creative setups from the writing and directing of Matt Angel and Suzanne Coote (The Open House). The kills to come are as uproarious and savage as imagined and advertised, boosted by dexterous stunts from Corey Pierno (The Unheard), ideally saturated hair and makeup work from Meagan Coyle (Swallow), and special prosthetic makeup effects by Brian Spears (Smile).

A bearded man points a gun off screen in The Wrath of Becky.
Image courtesy of Quiver Distribution

Thanks to the quietly intimidating presence of Seann William Scott as a far more believable funnyman-turned-heavy than comedian Kevin James from the first film, The Wrath of Becky methodically twists the master manipulator screws installed within the hero and her villains. He can convince entire crews to a cause while she knows just what puppet strings to cut in defiance. Both kill with little to no remorse and references of grit shared between the two adversaries give all the wild silliness just enough dangerous heft to not be all camp all the time.

Nevertheless, the murderous glee factor of The Wrath of Becky never fizzles out. The movie is super tight, unraveling its mayhem in 83 minutes and change, where four of those minutes are logos and credits. Not a second is wasted on fluff. With origins out of the way and better villainy present, this is a rare sequel that counts as a noticeable improvement from its predecessor, complete with an open door for more chapters.

Speaking of origins, one thing is firmly official from The Wrath of Becky, as if it wasn’t already bright as crimson three years ago in Becky. Someone needs to make Lulu Wilson a bigger star. Between appearances in The Glorias and even Star Trek: Picard, the 17-year-old blonde from the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood of New York City is building a very steady filmography under most people’s noses. Sign Lulu Wilson up for action, horror, comedy, or whatever she fits. Let her make more of these Becky romps or give her something bigger. Feed her more and feed us more.

Written by Don Shanahan

DON SHANAHAN is a Chicago-based Rotten Tomatoes-approved film critic writing here on Film Obsessive as the Editor-in-Chief and Content Supervisor for the film department. He also writes for his own website, Every Movie Has a Lesson. Don is one of the hosts of the Cinephile Hissy Fit Podcast on the Ruminations Radio Network and sponsored by Film Obsessive. As a school teacher by day, Don writes his movie reviews with life lessons in mind, from the serious to the farcical. He is a proud director and one of the founders of the Chicago Indie Critics and a voting member of the nationally-recognized Critics Choice Association, Online Film Critics Society, North American Film Critics Association, International Film Society Critics Association, Internet Film Critics Society, Online Film and TV Association, and the Celebrity Movie Awards.

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