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'Becky' review: LI's Kevin James taps into his dark side in gory thriller

Kevin James plays a neo-Nazi who disrupts a

Kevin James plays a neo-Nazi who disrupts a family's weekend at the lake in "Becky." Credit: Quiver Distribution/Redbox Entertainment/Keri Anderson

PLOT A girl’s family is terrorized by a neo-Nazi gang.

CAST Kevin James, Lulu Wilson, Joel McHale

RATED R (extreme gore, language)


WHERE Digital streaming and on demand.

BOTTOM LINE A semi-functioning thriller, notable mostly for Kevin James’ dramatic turn as a white supremacist.

Stony Brook comedian Kevin James plays a neo-Nazi who spoils a family’s vacation in “Becky,” the third feature by Cary Murnion and Jonathan Milott. No, it’s not a comedy, though on paper it sounds funnier than a lot of James’ movies. A low-budget, R-rated thriller, “Becky” does have a sense of humor, but your cackles will have to come from the over-the-top gore and splatter.

The film’s title role is a sullen tween with a dead mother and a clueless dad (Joel McHale). Their father-daughter trip to a woodsy cabin turns sour when he invites his fiancee and her young son (Amanda Brugel and Isaiah Rockliffe, both barely used), but things get much worse when an ex-con named Dominick (James) shows up with three henchmen. Hidden in the cabin, it seems, is a key that Dominick wants very badly. Becky knows where it is, but she’s not in the mood to give it up.

What follows is a pretty simple exercise: What items commonly associated with a cabin can Becky use to maim and kill? The answers range from semi-interesting (a broken ruler) to been done (a motorboat). The results are similarly mixed, and always accompanied by cartoonish torrents of blood and goop. Whenever we start to snicker, though, 13-year-old Lulu Wilson, who plays Becky, snaps us to attention with an impressively feral scream.

As for James, he makes a passable villain. With his biker beard, bald head and skull-inked swastika, Dominick is the dark flip side of James’ usual amiable workingmen. The actor uses his size to intimidate, which is effective enough, but Dominick never truly gives us the shivers. It’s probably too much to ask James to channel Robert Mitchum in “Cape Fear," but a little gleam in the eyes or a baring of fangs would have been welcome.

Overall, “Becky” might not impress even as a Friday night rental, but it’s worth noting that the movie is playing at drive-ins around the country. There, it might feel more like the bloody hoot it intends to be.

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