Elizabeth Kendall (Lily Collins) meets Ted Bundy (Zac Efron) and strikes up a relationship with him. Little does she know that she plays a part in a nationwide man hunt against Bundy.
Director: Joe Berlinger
Cast: Lily Collins, Zac Efron, Angela Sarafyan, Hayley Joel Osment, Jim Parsons, John Malkovich
MPAA Rating: R for disturbing/violent content, some sexuality, nudity, and language.
Fun Fact: Metallica’s James Hetfield’s acting debut. Hetfield worked with Joe Berlinger on Some Kind Of Monster, a documentary on Metallica.
Ted Bundy is one of the most infamous serial killer’s of our time. His crimes were horrendous and well publicized in many states. I live in Washington state and Ted Bundy lived in a town called Tacoma, which is about a half hour south of Seattle. Of course this was before my time and I wasn’t even six months old when he was executed in 1989.
Netflix has been releasing different forms of media on Bundy this year. Since it is the 30th anniversary of his execution I can see why. The latest release is Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil And Vile, which is based off a book from the real Elizabeth Kendall, who was a former girlfriend of Bundy.
The best choice that Joe Berlinger did was not to focus on the gory details of the crimes. Instead we see the personality of Bundy. Many people had stated that he was a stand up and charming guy. Little did everyone know that Bundy had a dark side to him. We already know what Bundy did crime wise so why focus on that? There really isn’t a need to see all of that for the hundredth time. We get a fresh take because us viewers see reactions from other people in Bundy’s life. Most of the film focuses on Elizabeth Kendall, who was his girlfriend in Seattle. Since the film is based on a book on her experiences, we get an inside look on what he was like at the time living his double life.
Zac Efron was the perfect choice to play Bundy. He portrays him as a man that had been successful in living his double life and manipulating others. Efron nailed Bundy’s charismatic and charming traits that fooled everyone. Bundy tried to convince everyone that he was innocent and Efron does a great job on trying to sell the audience on what Bundy tried to tell society. Lily Collins did a great job as Elizabeth Kendall as well. In moments where she is shocked I truly believed that she was. Collins and Efron have a good chemistry and they both have resemblance to their real life characters. It was great seeing Haley Joel Osment again in a role and he was serviceable as the concerning and caring Jerry. John Malkovich, who I think has a Netflix contract was a great choice to play the role as the judge, as does Jim Parsons as the prosecutor. The whole cast does a great job under Berlinger’s direction with their performances.
Another thing that made the film stand out was a realistic look of the 1970’s. The costumes were fantastic and the court house set looked like we were in the court house with everyone. The music that was chosen was the right choice as well as it fit the time era. The small things like that make the film more enjoyable.
Overall, Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil And Vile is an interesting and well needed take on the Ted Bundy story. The film already knows that the viewer knows about what Bundy did. The best part is that we get to see the reactions from the people that had known Bundy and their reactions. Zac Efron carries the film with his performance and I would suggest that you watch it because of him.