THE WRATH OF BECKY (Sydney FF 2023) – Review by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

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While Jonathan Milott and Cary Murnion’s Becky (2020) did well for a film released in the depth of the Covid-19 confusion, Matt Angel and Suzanne Coote’s recent addition to the franchise – The Wrath of Becky – is something else entirely. A rare sequel that not just stands on its own but arguably outshines the original, the tale of the fox hat wearing little girl who loves her dog Diego and hates neo-Nazis gets even more outrageous as Becky – a little girl no longer – has honed her combat skills and is ready for trouble when it comes looking for her.

The film finds Becky now working as a waitress in a diner where the sixteen-year-old struggles to cope with sexist clients and a boring job. But she has found a home of sorts with Elena (Denise Burse), another misfit who understands Becky and provides the young woman with much-needed companionship after the murder of her father that was so central to the plot of the original movie. But with the Noble Men coming to town – a thinly disguised Proud Boys if ever there was one – Becky’s life is shaken to the core, and once again she goes on a vengeance-fuelled rampage in the home of their leader, Daryl (Seann William Scott). These men, however, are professionals – will our teenage dayglo commando measure up to the challenge?

The Wrath of Becky is delightfully violent, very silly and a whole lot of fun. With perhaps the most ludicrous final five minutes of a film in recent years (which is saying something, for we truly live in dumb times) the film admirably earns its right to it. Despite the disappointing earlier collaboration of Angel and Coote in The Open House (2018), they find themselves on much firmer ground with Becky, in large part due to the centrality of Lulu Wilson who – as the eponymous teen – unambiguously owns the whole damned movie. Having watched her grow up on screen since earlier movies like Annabelle: Creation (2017) and Doctor Strange (2016), there’s something genuinely delightful about watching Wilson come into her own through the Becky films especially, and that the ending of the latest film points so brazenly to a sequel is welcome news indeed. It might be John Wick but with a teenage girl, but I for one am fine with that – The Wrath of Becky is satisfying, goofy fun.

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Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

Alexandra Heller-Nicholas is a multi-award-winning film critic and author who has published nine books on cult, horror and exploitation cinema with an emphasis on gender politics, including the 2020 book ‘1000 Women in Horror, 1898-2018’ which was included on Esquire Magazine’s list of the best 125 books written about Hollywood. Alexandra is a contributing editor at Film International, a columnist at Fangoria, an Adjunct Professor at Deakin University, and a member of the advisory board of the Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies (LA, NYC, London).