TUBI EXCLUSIVE: Romeo and Juliet Killers (2022)

On June 15, 2009, police found the body of Joanne Witt in the bedroom of her home in El Dorado Hills, California. She’d be stabbed at least twenty times by 19-year-old Steven Colver, the boyfriend of her 14-year-old daughter Tylar Witt, who claimed that she “put my hands on my ears, closed my eyes and hummed” while Steven repeatedly knifed her mother, ending the assault with a slash across the throat.

She plea-bargained and testified against her former boyfriend, whose defense team claimed she had three personaities: Tylar,  her angel form of Alex and the demonic Toby.

Why did Joanne have to die? Well, she’d found the diary that detailed the sex life that the two shared and had threatened to go to the police. The two teens had discussed running away to San Francisco and committing suicide on their four-month anniversary, but went with murder as a backup plan.

The world of TV movies has always ripped movies from the headdlines. Now, Tubi is here to do the same with Romeo and Juliet Killers.

Tylar (Leigha Sinnott) and her mother JoAnne (Kelly Sullivan) have never gotten along. After all, Tylar was so wild as a child that JoAnne found herself slapping her and drawing blood, an incident that the young girl holds over her head at all times. JoAnne must be doing ok otherwise — their house is huge, big enough to have a gate that you need buzzed into. But Tylar is wild and all she wants to do is hang out with her friends Graham Cracker (Bradley Hender) and Squishy (Ashlei Foushee) at a Mexican restaurant that strangely only employs gringos.

It’s there that she meets Boston (Zachary Roozen), a waiter at the restaurant that is probably named something like Pan Blanco. He charms her with talks of threeways, drugs and his oh so mysterious name, which is teased and never explained. She never even comes home, leading to JoAnne’s neighbor and annoying best friend Val (Alicia Ziegler) and her cop husband Ron (Darren Dupree Washington) to suggest some tough love, like a tracker on her phone. You know, snitches being snitches.

That’s when Tylar and Boston get a sneaky plan. He claims that he’s just broken up with his lover God (Cooper Devaney), a young gay kid and not the God that churches believe in, in case you wondered, because wow, that would make this a different movie. She thinks Boston is a nice kid with no family and home who balances out her wild child, so she offers him a room in their house. And right under her nose, he starts doing the act of darkness with her little girl. They have some horizontal refresments. Dance the forbidden polka. Go heels to Jesus. Place condensed milk into the waffle. Rough up the suspect. Do the dirty deed. The dipsy doodle. The hibbety-dibbety. The mysterious dance.

I think they make love when she’s at work.

You can see where this is all going but director Lindsay Hartley —  a former Lifetime movie star and soap opera actress, so she knows the story beats — realizes that she’s on Tubi and not basic cable, which means that Boston is bi and there’s a scene where JoAnna catches him in bed with God — again not the Almighty — and he follows her, nude, into the hall and puts her hand on his gland while she cries in agony.

She does not kick him out of the house for this.

There’s also a nude bathtub lovemaking scene and an absolutely deranged moment where our killers knife mom multiple times and then make love in bed next to her, getting blood all over their nubile bodies, then sleep cuddling her dead body.

Writers Peter Hunziker and Cynthia Riddle have credits like Bob the Builder and the RoboCop: Alpha Commando cartoon that may not prepare you for what they’ve created here. They did, however, also write 2014’s The Brittany Murphy Story.

This film is wildly forgiving of its male killer and much less of its female murderer, who seems deranged from the first moment we meet her and therefore the best character in this movie. I appreciate when a simple ripped from the headines film goes for it and leaves good taste at the door.

This one leaves good taste a few towns over after it fingerblasted it.

My favorite character in this is the neighbor cop husband who just wants to be left alone. His wife keeps pushing and snooping and invading privacy and he’s like “Baby, let me sleep.” He also uses the phrase Kama Sutra in his interrogation — while his wife watches from the other side of a two-way mirror in the squad room which I don’t think happens. She also shuts down another cop with her knowledge and her husband says, “I’d just listen to my wife” with an exasperate sigh and you feel his ennui.

Also a movie where bad kids choose to hang out in a Mexican restaurant every single scene we see them. It’s super clean and they’re the only ones in there so their bad ass aura is suspect.

This movie exists in its own stupid universe and I’m here for all of it.

You can watch this on Tubi.

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