Johnny & Clyde, 2023.
Directed by Tom DeNucci.
Starring Avan Jogia, Ajani Russell, Megan Fox, Tyson Ritter, Bai Ling, Vanessa Angel, Armen Garo, Robert LaSardo, Nick Principe, Sean Ringgold, Charles W Harris III, Brett Azar, Sydney Jenkins, Claudio Orefice, Fred Sullivan, Michael Zuccola, and Chris Whitcomb.
Johnny and Clyde are two serial killers who are madly in love and on an endless crime spree. They have their sights set on robbing a prosperous casino – owned by crime boss Alana and guarded by a demonic slayer that she commands.
Here is a cinematic mad-lib: what if Bonnie and Clyde fought a demon while pulling off a heist? Points for creativity… I guess?
There is no way to put this but bluntly: Johnny & Clyde is an insufferably bad film that doesn’t seem to understand a thing about Bonnie and Clyde characterizations and narratives or the basics of horror, such as presenting a demon that looks scary and intimidating (here, it’s an extremely cheap Grim Reaper suit that is enhanced – a term used loosely – with horrendous looking CGI and smoke effects).
This movie decides to take the infamous blueprint of serial killing and kleptomaniac lovers on the run and eventually teams them up with a group of equally sadistic friends with generic personalities, such as a demolitions expert or a suicidal barbarian that seemingly lives by Norse mythology. At one point, they break a friend out of a mental institution, which is probably a more fun place to be than watching this film. It’s maddening that someone could miss the point of Bonnie and Clyde so much, even if nothing about this spin on them is meant to be taken seriously (God, I hope not, anyway).
None of this is helped by some of the corniest, most laughable, and irritating portrayals of these characters. Every line of dialogue feels forced and mistimed, and trying so hard to be edgy that one can’t help finding it funny. Then there is the script from Nick Principe and Tom DeNucci, which has no clue how to structure any of this logically, giving viewers anything to root for or care about. The story here is far too dumb to be offended by anything Johnny and Clyde (Avan Jogia and Ajani Russell) do, no matter how many innocent civilians are killed. Forget pinpointing what tone the filmmakers are going for, but I will say the music chosen to play over certain scenes is hysterical for the wrong reasons.
Meanwhile, a former Sheriff (Armen Garo) is relentlessly hunting down Johnny and Clyde as they tortured and murdered his daughter years ago. And since the relationship between Johnny and Clyde amounts to nothing more than murderous, sociopathic lovers without a semblance of characterization that would put viewers on their side of them or their anarchy, the movie consistently feels awkward to watch. There has to be something compelling about telling the story from their perspective as protagonists (yes, the heroes here) beyond repetitive attempts at unhinged behavior that fail because it’s impossible to take seriously.
Somehow, none of the above is the worst part. Megan Fox also plays a filthy rich casino owner barking orders to half-naked henchmen and henchwomen, hoarding away cash in a secret location where she plans on having the previously mentioned demon guard that money by gaining control of him by taking possession of a magical stone. It’s yet another abysmal performance in this gonzo catastrophe.
The concept for Johnny & Clyde is off-the-wall bonkers but executed horrendously in every conceivable way. It so badly wants to be hip, stylish, edgy, and fun, but it’s just an embarrassment.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ / Movie: ★
Robert Kojder is a member of the Chicago Film Critics Association and the Critics Choice Association. He is also the Flickering Myth Reviews Editor. Check here for new reviews, follow my Twitter or Letterboxd, or email me at MetalGearSolid719@gmail.com