becky | jonathan milott | cary murnion | ruckus skye | lane skye | nick morris | lulu wilson | kevin james | joel mchale | home invasion | neo-nazi | action | crime | drama | thriller | united states | robert maillet | amanda brugel | isaiah rockcliffe | ryan mcdonald
Directors: Jonathan Milott and Cary Murnion
Writers: Ruckus Skye, Lane Skye and Nick Morris
Starring: Lulu Wilson, Kevin James and Joel McHale
This is a movie that I remember hearing podcasts cover the year that it came out. Overall, most everyone seemed to be positive. There were gripes here and there. I didn’t get the chance to catch this during that year end round up. I did add it to a list of ones to check out. It moved up when I saw my theater was playing the sequel, so I made it a point to check out this one first.
Synopsis: a teenager’s weekend at a lake house with her father takes a turn for the worse when a group of convicts wreaks havoc on their lives.
Now we start this off with a great sequence. It draws the parallels of being in high school to prison where we have kids fighting synced up with a brawl of adults. For the former, we see Becky (Lulu Wilson) watching. With the other, Dominick (Kevin James) slides a shiv to someone else to stab one of the guys in the circle around the fight.
Then to delve more into this teenage girl, Becky. She is struggling. Her mother passed away from cancer. Becky’s response is to lash and act out. We see her doodling instead of taking a test. Her father picks her up from school early. His name is Jeff (Joel McHale). The two of them head to a lake house they own. This upsets Becky as she assumes they’re selling it. That’s not the case. It is worse. He brought her there to announce that he is marrying Kayla (Amanda Brugel), his new girlfriend. Becky can’t handle this.
On the other side of this, we have Dominick getting loaded into a police escort with Apex (Robert Maillet), Cole (Ryan McDonald), Hammond (James McDougall) and others. Apex attacks a guy next to him, causing the driver to stop. This group uses it to get free. Others feel their wrath as they work their way across the countryside.
They converge on the lake house. I should point out that Dominick is a white supremist. He has Nazi tattoos and it seems like these other three are his followers. Jeff, Kayla and her son Ty (Isaiah Rockcliffe) are taken hostage. We see that Apex might not be on board as he tried to help Kayla and Ty to escape. They’re stopped by Cole and Hammond. The family tries to hide the fact that Becky isn’t a girl, but one of the dogs. This façade only goes on for so long. Dominick is there for a key that was hidden in the wall of the basement. It isn’t where he left it. The only one he doesn’t have is Becky. She must decide to give him what he wants or fight back. Becky won’t be told what to do, not even by her own father.
That is where I’ll leave my recap and introduction to the characters. Where I want to start is going back to something I’ve brought up already. I knew coming in that Becky fights back and that is the action of the movie. It is like taking Home Alone or Predator and setting it at a lake house. What makes this work is that we have a teenager going up against hardened criminals who are adults. She should be at a disadvantage. What works in her favor is that she knows the lay of the land, they underestimate her and it is only Dominick that has the resolve to get what he wants. I take it the other three are content with just fleeing now that they’re out of prison.
With that set up, I want to start by bringing back up what I said by comparing this to Home Alone or Predator. If anything, it is the latter. Once Becky decides to fight back, she sets up traps. What I like here is that she uses things like pencils, a broken metal ruler and other things you’d find around a house like that. That makes me think of Home Alone. She doesn’t solely rely on traps though, hence the other movie. The villains are adult males. When you see a girl like this who I’m guessing is like 13ish, you expect they would be able to take her with ease. What they aren’t factoring in is the rage within her. She’s hurt by losing her mother. Even more so for this weekend when she sees her dad moving on. She is finally letting it out and they’re taking that in full force. I did want to commend Wilson. She does good here at this angsty teen and I can buy in when she snaps, wanting revenge.
I think then I should go to our villains. We have an easy route to go here by making this racist, neo-Nazis. Most everyone is going to side with our good characters. It is easy to use them for that reason, but the movie doesn’t go over the top. There are comments from Dominick that upset Kayla and Jeff. It is subtle enough. I should bring up here that I was impressed with James. I was telling my wife, Jaime, about this movie and she had the reaction that most everyone from the horror community did. They cast the comedian as this hardened villain? What I pointed out is that comedy and horror are based on timing. I thought James was great as our main bad guy. He did a good job in being vile and fit what was needed.
Since I’ve already gone into the two stars, I’ll go into the rest of the cast. McHale is good as the father. His role takes a backseat, but it is mostly there as a crux to get us started on what we need. I also thought that Brugel and Rockcliffe as this ‘invading’ family that upset Becky were good. They didn’t do anything wrong and became victims of circumstance. Maillet, McDonald and McDougall were also good as the rest of the criminals. What I like is that their resolve doesn’t match their boss, but they also don’t talk back to him. Maillet as Apex is the best with just his imposing size. Other than that, I thought the rest of the cast were solid for what was needed.
All that is left then is filmmaking. I should point out that this becomes a home invasion movie when Dominick and his crew show up. It doesn’t thrive there, but that is where this starts. The cinematography is good. I like the shots we get to set things up. I also love the editing, especially the opening sequence comparing high school to prison. The effects are good. They don’t go over the top, but they looked practical. I know there was CGI blood. It was hidden enough so that works. Other than that, the soundtrack is fine. I like that it sets up that Becky likes to sing. That plays into the movie. The use of the walkie talkies was also good as well.
In conclusion, I enjoyed my time here. I’m a bit upset with myself for not watching this when it first came out. It seems like a movie that might have contended for the bottom part of my top ten of that year. We have an interesting variation on a story we’ve seen before. This is a home invasion movie without leaning too much into that. Wilson and James are good as the leads. The rest of the cast are solid. They do good things with the effects without going over the top. I’d say that this is a well-made movie. I had a lot of fun here and would recommend giving it a watch for sure. This goes for horror and non-horror fans alike.
My Rating: 7.5 out of 10