Column by Anthony Thurber
This is the second edition of Reviews from the Horror Show. In this edition, it’s an A-list and B-list star studded affair. I will be giving my thoughts on two films. Let’s start off with the home invasion thriller Becky.
The film is about a young girl (Lulu Wilson) who goes on a weekend getaway with her father (Joel McHale) to meet up with his girlfriend. The weekend takes a horrifying turn when a group of convicts including a merciless leader (Kevin James) who escape the law takes everyone hostage leading to a horrifying weekend.
It was kind of weird to see Kevin James and Joel McHale in the same film playing a serious character. I was expecting the worst when I decided to see this Becky but I have to say I enjoyed this film for the most part.
One of the reasons that I liked Becky was the film’s direction. Directors Jonathan Millot and Cary Murnion did a good job for the most part in making sure the film had an intense feel to it. Whether it’s the action or the last third of the film, the directors made sure that the action has enough intensity to keep your interest. Millot and Murnion also did a good job making sure most of the performances were entertaining. They did a very good job directing the film’s lead Lulu Willson and Joel McHale as they made sure the performances carry the film as both WIlson and McHale were very good especially in the scenes they are in together.
If there was one problem that I had with their direction, it was the fact that Kevin James was very bad in this film. He sounded disinterested in the material as it felt like he was whispering his lines which annoyed me. It also helped that he played the character mostly one note throughout most of the film. It dragged the film down a bit for me as I felt like they should’ve found someone who could come off as menacing. I just didn’t get with James’ performance. I wished the directors directed him differently as every time he was onscreen he dragged the film down as I was about to fall to sleep to the point that Kevin James’ performance is a half star deduction.
The screenplay written by Nick Morris, Ruckus Skye and Lane Skye did a good job in providing an entertaining story. One of the reasons why I liked the screenplay more than the direction was the fact that the screenplay does a very job exploring the main character’s state of mind dealing with the death of her mother and the fact that the escape convicts have taken her father and her girlfriend hostage. Some of the best scenes are in the beginning of the film where the story focuses on Becky and her father. It explores the backstory of the main character and gives a level depth to the main character that is needed to make the character interesting.
Becky was an entertaining and intense film that delivers on the gore and good performances from Lulu Wilson and Joel McHale but is dragged down by the one note performance of Kevin James. With that, I still say check it out.
3.5 out of 5 stars.
Keeping with the all star feel in this edition with Killer Therapy.
The film is about a kid who has violent tendencies and goes through therapist after therapist trying to resolve his anger issues. He matures into a teenager (Michael Qeligi) who is unable to make the right choice to change his behavior. He starts to embrace his anger as he starts to take revenge on every one who has wronged him and begins to accept who he is. The film also co-stars Thom Mathews (The Return of The Living Dead, Friday the 13th Part VI), PJ Soles (Halloween (1978), Carrie (1976)), Adrienne King (Friday the 13th, Friday the 13th Part II) and Daeg Faerch (Halloween(2007)).
Going into Killer Therapy, I thought that this was going to be one of those films where it’s just a bunch of past horror stars in a film with no substance and story. I was wrong on that assumption as this was a good film.
One of the reasons why Killer Therapy worked for me was the fact that this had good direction from co-writer/director Barry Jay. His direction was very good as he does a good job making sure that the scenes had a dark and dreary feel to them. It made the film interesting as it allowed it to focus on the main character’s state of mind and not go off track which is something that is needed for a psychological horror slasher like this to succeed. This film does that as I was into this film throughout. The other thing that I liked was the way Jay directs the performances. He does a good job making sure that the performances match the film’s tone. It was important in a film like this to let the tone of the film be the main focus and for the performances help drive the tone which is important for a psychological horror film to work.
Speaking of performances, Michael Qeliqi as the film’s main character Brian Landston does a great job making sure that his character is very dark throughout. It made the character very frightening to watch especially towards the end. The film also has good solid supporting performances from Thom Mathews and P.J Soles which made this film better.
The screenplay written by Jay and Andrew Krop does a very good job focusing on the psychological aspects of the film’s main character. Whether spending the first third of the film on the main character’s childhood to his relationship with his family, the writers do a very good job focusing on the character’s state of mind. It made this for an interesting psychological horror film. The other thing that this screenplay does very well is that it made sure the story had a dark tone throughout. The writers did a good job making sure that the tone of the film had this bleak and dreary tone throughout. It helped make this film more of a serious horror slasher than most slashers out there today as this was also an interesting character study.
Don’t let Killer Therapy fool you that this is a film with past horror stars in it as this is a good film that focuses on story and the psychological aspects of horror.
Review Rating: Four Stars.
Looking forward to episode 53 of Anthony T’s Horror Show. I will have two interviews next episode as I will talk to director Rony Patel about his latest film Chop Chop and Jacob Perett about his horror anthology films Spine Chiller and Weird Fiction plus I ask the question “Was Anthony T Lucky or was he not Lucky?” That is the question with Shudder’s Secret Halloween Film as I review Natasha Nermani’s Lucky starring Brea Grant. Episode 53 of Anthony T’s Horror Show will be out next week.