When we last left “Becky” (starring an extraordinary Lulu Wilson), she’d managed to off an entire cell of neo-Nazis (led by Kevin James, of all people), ingeniously and gruesomely plotting their deaths after she and her ill-fated dad ran afoul of the baddies during the world’s worst family vacation. Jonathan Milott and Cary Murnion’s icky “Becky” didn’t do much more than deliver on the promise of turning a teenage girl into a righteous murderer — and, again, what luck to have cast the plucky and spunky Wilson in the title role — but it did feel as if there was more ground to cover (and more blood to spill).
Thus: Sequel! “The Wrath of Becky,” which arrives just three years after Milott and Murnion’s indie hit (it made over $1 million at the box office in the summer of 2020, no easy feat), certainly offers more — it’s also more of the same. Kills are gruesome and clever, Wilson is a wonder, the bad guys all deserve what’s coming, and it all feels undercooked.
If “Becky” left fans hungering for more, “The Wrath of Becky” only trebles that desire: After more than three hours of “Becky”-based entertainment, this franchise finally seems to be getting somewhere — and then it’s over. Do you have the patience for that? At least you’ll be able to watch more white trash racists and sexists get manically murdered in the interim.
“The Wrath of Becky” was written and directed by Matt Angel (who also co-stars) and Suzanne Coote; they also directed Netflix thriller “Hypnotic.” Despite the infusion of new blood, this sequel feels entirely cribbed from its predecessor. After flipping through a largely unnecessary (although darkly amusing) opening sequence in which we learn that Becky spent the past two years cycling through foster homes (joined, of course, by her beloved pooch Diego), we rocket ahead further in time to find Becky living at the country home of the kindly Elena (Denise Burse).
Elena, we’re told, picked up a hitchhiking Becky and promptly took her in as a boarder, no questions asked, even when Becky started using Elena’s sprawling backyard to practice her literal killer techniques. Expecting Elena to reveal herself as someone with her own secrets? Eh, think again. Narrative misdirects aside, Becky and Elena have carved out a sort of peace with each other, one that even involves Becky (Becky!!) participating in an evening exercise in which the duo say what they’re grateful for.
It’s going great, really, but as Angel and Coote cut to more and more news reports about a growing movement of proto-Proud Boys (they’re called The Noblemen, and they sound like real dicks) who might be coming to town to kick up their own little insurrection (inspired, of course, by a visit from a Latina politician), it’s clear that Becky is about to meet her next batch of very deserving victims. Soon enough, three of them (Angel, Michael Sirow, and Aaron Dalla Villa) arrive at the quiet diner where Becky works, all racist dribble and sexist rabble, eager to meet their supposed leader for a weekend of light insurrection.
Suffice it to say, don’t ever bet against Becky. And while the trio eventually do more than enough to inspire anyone into murderous action, they’ve got no idea who they’ve pissed off when they take on Becky. We, of course, know exactly who she is, and while that dilutes some of the shock that “Becky” ladled on thick — a teenage girl? who murders? — Angel and Coote at least up the ante when it comes to Becky’s kills. The same can be said for the baddies they devise, particularly Seann William Scott (ostensibly taking over the Kevin James role) as the leader of The Noblemen, who offers a touch more dimension than Becky’s first nemesis.
Still, it’s all more of the same and as much as we root for Becky — and boy, do we, these Noblemen are beyond trash — the film lacks energy and carries a rote sense of “sequel!” that’s impossible to shake. (Kill them, Becky, yeah, girl, do it up, get that bear trap set, woo!) It’s numbing, and all the worse when we consider, again, how excellent Wilson is in the role and how much more terrifying these villains should feel in the year 2023.
Angel and Coote surprise by the film’s end, offering a fresh future — and, if the audiences show up, surely another sequel — for Becky, complete with the express directive to off more of the deserving, this time with a bit more finesse. Do we have the patience for yet another Becky film, in hopes that this one might deliver on Wilson’s promise and her character’s righteous fury? After enduring both “Becky” and “The Wrath of Becky,” we deserve a real treat. Bring on more, but for Becky’s sake, make it better.
“The Wrath of Becky” premiered at the 2023 SXSW Film Festival. Quiver Distribution will release it at a later date.
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