We Gotta Get Out of This Place (known as Bad Turn Worse in some areas) is a delightful debut from the Hawkins brothers, who seem to embrace the modern Western-Noir genre in all its peculiarities. And while they don’t seem to break any moulds with this film, I believe that’s probably the point, as it plays as a straightforward genre piece that gets lifted up by the performances of its young and talented cast, a solid plot, as well as a good sense of direction from the guys behind the camera.
Bobby and Sue are two young friends in a small dusty part of Texas. Soon they will be leaving behind this sleepy and forgettable place as they head for college in the big city. Sue’s boyfriend, the wild yet attractive BJ makes a foolish decision to rob the local crime boss, and soon all three of the teens are caught up in a spiraling web as they are forced to find a way to pay back the stolen money.
The plot is workable and solid but not particularly life changing. What drives the events so well is the performances from the three central cast members, who are young and yet seem so perfect in these roles, and also the acting of the central protagonist, played by Mark Pellegrino. He has that perfect level of “love to hate him;” and he dominates the film whenever he appears on screen.
We Gotta Get Out of This Place is the story of forgettable people in a forgettable town, but we are shown that even the smallest of places can have stories and characters that have such interesting lives and concerns that we are driven to watch them. It’s a great change from huge blockbusters that seem to capture a galactic scale but no one individual’s actual soul.