Bad Turn Worse

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Bad Turn Worse Movie Poster Image
Gritty Texas crime story has violence, language.
  • NR
  • 2014
  • 92 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Lying, cheating, and stealing are the norm. Things work out OK for some of the characters, but it's unclear how much of a price they paid for it.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Even the best characters are liars and cheaters. The worst are criminals and murderers.

Violence

Characters are shot and fall from heights; pools of blood shown. A girl is kidnapped and tied up. Forced kissing. Burying a dead body. Fighting, arguing.

Sex

A teen girl cheats on her boyfriend: She kisses and has sex with another teen boy. No nudity, but strong sexual innuendo.

Language

Frequent uses of "f--k" in various permutations. Also "s--t," "c--k," "ass," "bastard," "a--hole," "d--k," "bitch," "goddamn," and "oh my God."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

College-age teens go out for a night of drinking. One gets very drunk and smokes a cigarette. Older characters are shown with flasks.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Bad Turn Worse is a low-budget thriller inspired by crime movies of the 1990s. It has some strong violence, including beatings, shooting, and death, with pools of blood. A teen girl is kidnapped and offered as a sexual object (men try to kiss her, but she fights them off). She does kiss and have sex (no nudity) with a lover while cheating on her boyfriend, and there's strong sexual innuendo in some scenes. Language is strong, with frequent use of "f--k," as well as several uses of "s--t," "goddamn," and more. College-age teens go out for a night of drinking, and one gets very drunk. But the young cast and good word of mouth might make this appealing to teen viewers, especially those who haven't seen its 1990s forerunners.

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What's the story?

When his best friend, Bobby (Jeremy Allen White), and his girl, Sue (Mackenzie Davis), get ready to leave their small Texas town for college, B.J. (Logan Huffman) takes them out for an unforgettable night on the town, spending a wad of cash. Unbeknownst to the friends, B.J. stole the money from his cotton mill boss, Giff (Mark Pellegrino); when Giff tries to beat a confession from an innocent mill worker, Bobby assumes responsibility for the theft. The friends are then forced to pull off a heist (the mob uses the cotton mill to launder money) to pay back the debt. But, as pulp novel devotee Sue mentions early in the film, "things are not what they seem."

Is it any good?

Feeling like a forgotten offspring of Blood Simple and Reservoir Dogs, BAD TURN WORSE is an above average crime tale. It begins over breakfast with a discussion of biscuits and gravy and Jim Thompson novels. Then, throughout the movie, the characters sink their teeth into some spicy, curly dialogue, especially the veteran criminals. In one memorable scene, Bobby goes to the police, and the corrupt sheriff (Jon Gries) lets loose with a twisty, sinister selection of words that tells Bobby to keep his trap shut.

Brothers/co-directors Simon and Zeke Hawkins give the movie a potent small-town feel, with big skies and sun-cooked air. Everything feels lived-in -- or, more appropriately, stuck. The younger characters haven't yet learned the cynicism of the older characters. But unfortunately, a plot twist toward the end feels a bit too abrupt. It leads to a rushed conclusion and the feeling that BAD TURN WORSE is less a striking debut than just entertaining pulp.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Bad Turn Worse's violence. How do the filmmakers use it, and how does it make you feel? How much is shown, and how much is left to the imagination?

  • Do the characters learn any lessons from their escapades or face any consequences for their actions? What do you think might have happened in this situation in real life?

  • What's the appeal of these kinds of crime stories, in which characters are tempted into trouble?

  • Is B.J. a bully? Why, or why not?

Movie details

For kids who love thrills

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