Many new TV shows and movies were added to Netflix in May, including the highly anticipated “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile” on May 3. The film, a biographical thriller directed by Joe Berlinger and starring Zac Efron and Lily Collins, tells the story of infamous serial killer Ted Bundy from the perspective of his ex-girlfriend Liz Kendall, whose name in real life was Liz Kloepfer.
Hearing that Efron is playing one of the most notorious serial killers in America left many wary of the outcome. Considering Efron is best known most for his role in “High School Musical” as a singing and basketball-playing heartthrob, any caution is understandable.
However, that’s the point in casting Efron. Who better to portray Bundy – the dangerously handsome charmer that many loved – than an actor who has been a crush for thousands of girls since 2006? The casting makes sure that during the movie you have to remind yourself that, yes, he is actually the serial killer.
Thankfully, Efron’s acting has come a long way since his Disney days. Efron hits the mark with his portrayal of Bundy. Not only does Efron look eerily like Bundy, he nails the persona as well and brings the charmingly handsome killer back to life for the movie’s hour-and-50-minute runtime.
“Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile” comes very close to romanticizing Bundy and his heinous acts. However, by switching the point of view to Bundy’s ex-girlfriend, the film cleverly steers away from this. The emphasis on Collins’ character throughout the movie allows for Kendall’s realization that Bundy is not a cute, kind boyfriend but rather a murderous monster.
The movie takes place during the years of Bundy’s killings when he first met Kendall and began their relationship. The movie goes up until the very end of Bundy’s story, with his death row sentence.
Yet the film really only makes mention of a few of the major killings. This could be due to the fact that Kendall didn’t know much about them or keep track of the news concerning them. However, without the whole story, Bundy does not come across as quite as horrible as he was.
This is still the story of the serial killer who horrifically murdered more than 30 people. At this point, it is pretty safe to assume most people who will watch this will know the history of Bundy, so maybe highlighting more of his evil side isn’t necessary to show Kendall’s perspective. After all, it is Kendall’s story.
But Bundy was a heinous man who committed unthinkable crimes. What was done cannot be glossed over just for a new perspective. It is important to highlight the bad just as much as the good, or ill-conceived good in this case.