A Journey into the Darkness of a Violent Mind
A commentary on the American horror movie Becky (2020).
At which point do we pass the point of no return?
In a revenge tale about how dark we can go when pushed to the edge, 13-year-old Becky’s rage, fervor, and inventiveness escalate with each kill, fuelling the argument that violence begets violence.
Already traumatized by the death of her mother from cancer, Becky (Lulu Wilson) takes hit after hit when her father Jeff (Joel McHale) moves on far too quickly with a single mother Kayla (A Handmaid’s Tale’s Amanda Brugel) and her child Ty, inviting the uninvited to their family holiday home without asking Becky, and then springing the news that he and Kayla are planning to get married.
After she races into the forest with her dog, Diego, a group of neo-Nazi prisoners who just broke out of prison, take Jeff, Kayla, and Ty hostage in search of a key they had hidden in the basement of the house. When they realize Becky has the key, Dominick (Kevin James), the leader, shoots Jeff while Becky is watching and the violence ensues.
Becky is clever and immensely innovative. She lays traps for the criminals and takes them down one by one, a la Home Alone, except this time, the traps are lethal. There is something very disturbing about a child-killing with such a lack of remorse and impunity.
As the only one of the criminals with compassion, Apex (Robert Maillet) lets Kayla and Ty go earlier as he cannot bear the killing of children. He hopes that saving Becky twice will make up for all that he has done.
Instead, she shoots him in the head without hesitation as he is apologizing, mid-sentence.
How she screams with rage and relief right after, the last prisoner dead, bringing to mind a residual memory of a movie I watched before when the monster makes its final kill, howling its victory before vanishing back into the darkness. Not a good comparison, Becky.
When remorse is evident in a conflicted character, they are usually absolved. I imagine in most stories, Apex would have walked away, unscathed. Not in this case, which makes the viewer wonder, who is the monster in this story?