SXSW 2023 was a crazy hectic time for film and television critics as the schedule was jammed packed with distribution hopefuls, all vying for limited venue screenings and the attention of exhausted eyeballs. I’m still recovering and catching up.

I managed to squeeze in multiple films in between the activations, the walking, and the sleeping. Two more films I was thrilled to catch, The Wrath of Becky and Brooklyn 45 represent two sides of Horror – in-your-face campy violence, and brooding supernatural thrills. Look for these (hopefully) soon on a streaming platform near you.

The Wrath of Becky

The Wrath of Becky is the sequel to the 2020 sleeper, Becky, starring Lulu Wilson, a child dragged into the woods for some terrible news, only to have her weekend get progressively worse when White Supremacists show up (again).
It’s now two years later and Becky has a new life, having escaped from more foster homes than she can count, and is living a clandestine life in a quiet out of the way suburb. Off the grid, she and her dog Diego live with Elena (Denise Burse), both keeping quiet secrets from each other and they settle in a comfortable routine. When Becky angers the wrong group of rednecks at the diner where she works, and they retaliate, suddenly leading a quiet life is no longer in the cards. Becky has anger issues and she’s about to make it everyone’s problem.
Campy fun? Yes. Ultra-violent? You bet! What separates Becky is that it’s not aiming for the “comedy” part of horror comedy. It’s organically funny and while the situations are off the wall, the natural progression of the storyline isn’t. 12-year old Becky was just a brat taking out some aggression on trespassers, but she’s grown and softened a little, so the sympathy is a little easier to come by. I don’t think it takes the bite out of her actions, but it’s honest to say the impulsiveness is missed. With a cast including Seann William Scott, Aaron Dalla Villa, Jill Larson, and Kate Siegal, not a frame is wasted in Becky’s continued search to be left tf alone.
The Wrath of Becky (2023) from returning writers/directors Matt Angel and Suzanne Coote is a Quiver Distribution and is still searching for its forever home.

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Brooklyn 45

Brooklyn 45 takes the audience back to a snowy night in December 1945, where former military friends gather for a nightcap and to catch up on troubling, recent events. The war is over, and while most are excited for the new life ahead for America and her allies, some,like Marla (Anne Ramsay), who has traded her effective interrogation skills for a high-ranking job at the Pentagon, and Mjr. Paul DiFranco (Ezra Buzzington), aren’t convinced the war is truly over. Also, war crimes loom over Mjr. Archibald Stanton (Jeremy Holm), wwhile Marla’s non-enlisted husband Bob (Ron E. Rains) is really just along for the company. The gathering is more to comfort the host, Lt. Col. Clive Hockstatter (Larry Fessenden) as he’s become convinced that his late wife was driven to suicide by his German neighbor, Hilde (Kristina Klebe), who is also a spy. In his grief, and after several liters of whiskey, Hockstatter sets out to prove both counts at the expense of his friends, their reputations, and their lives.
Writer/director Ted Geoghegan pays homage to vintage seances like 1944’s The Uninvited and 1939’s The Hound of the Baskervilles in this one-room set piece. Because of the single claustrophobic location, this is a side of post-war ennui fresh from the trenches. The Greatest Generation has a lot to answer for. Brooklyn 45 is driven by the performances of Anne Ramsay and Jeremy Holm, and no one chews scenery like Larry Fessenden. This is a movie elevated by the strength of its dialog and depth of its characters, and while it takes a minute to get rolling, the tension throughout makes it a live-wire treat.
Brooklyn 45 has been picked up by Shudder, but no release date has been announced.

Movie Reelist Contributor: MontiLee Stormer
MontiLee Stormer is a writer of horror, dark and urban fantasy. She’s also is a troublemaker, concocting acts of mayhem and despair for her own selfish pleasure. An avid movie watcher, she prefers horror but will see just about anything if you're buying. Poltergeist (1982) is her favorite movie and she actively hates The Shining (1980) due to its racism, misogyny, the butchering of the source material. She could host a TEDtalk on this single subject. Writing about herself in the third person is just a bonus.

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