Netflix shelves the gruesome murders of Ted Bundy, and focuses more on the life of his girlfriend and his time in court in “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile”, streaming now

Zac Efron portrays a seeming “loveable” and “charming” Bundy, that has you believing in his innocence up until the end where his true “shocking” criminality is revealed

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This is not your typical serial killer movie. Although not much murder or gore shown, Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile still proves to be entertaining and very informative. It shows how the life of a serial killer (who has been discussed ad nauseum) can still be explored, in this case through Ted Bundy’s girlfriend Elizabeth Kloepfer (played by Lily Collins), and by showing her point of view and lack of knowledge throughout all his trials. Blinded by her love for him, she just can’t believe that this sweet, caring man could be capable of such things.

Going in, expecting the R rating to be for murder and gore, and coming out only experiencing a few f-bombs and brief nudity; was oddly relieving. The perspective taken on this movie was rare and tackled perfectly. Having the limited knowledge that his girlfriend had made the story more intense and believable (even knowing that he was guilty, it was hard at points to believe he wasn’t innocent). He was very convincing, and Efron added the perfect “charm” to his character, which most people described him to have. The choice to exclude scenes showing him committing the crime, only makes him more believable.

We have hindsight now (knowing that he was, in fact, guilty) but the ability for director Joe Berlinger to still convey his sense of innocence on such a believable level was amazing and incredible. Efron’s acting was phenomenal, and seeing flashes of actual Ted Bundy vs Efron’s Bundy made it very hard to tell the difference between the two. He stole the spotlight everywhere he went and made it very hard for people to accept the fact that he did commit these horrible crimes.

The controversy regarding Efron’s portrayal has good arguments on both sides, but personally, I’d have to go in favor of the movie and the direction Berlinger took Bundy. Efron’s acting and “good guy” personality truly immersed us into what people actually felt when they interacted with Bundy. He was deceptive and convincing in and out of the courtroom, and I feel like that wasn’t overdone in the movie. He was very believable in real life, and he was very believable in the movie.  

I highly recommend this movie to anyone who has a Netflix subscription and enjoys learning the horrible facts of serial killers in an entertaining fashion. The 1hr 50min run time goes by faster than expected, and the ending scene adds a very uncomfortable and eery vibe that makes the whole movie you just watched very unsettling. It was a haunting scene that has stuck with me now, days after I watched it.

Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile: 9/10