Ever since Netflix dropped Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes back in January, people have been fascinated, disgusted, and freaked out about this story. If you're not familiar with that docuseries, it's about serial killer Ted Bundy. The docuseries had never-before-heard tapes of Ted on death row, but this new Netflix movie is completely different. Is Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile a good movie?
From February 1974 to February 1978, Ted Bundy murdered over 30 women and one man. Women around the world were fascinated by this story, and also by Ted himself. He was definitely a charmer, and even when he was convicted of murder, women still smiled when they saw him. It's been 30 years since Ted Bundy died, but Netflix actually had to step in and urge fans to stop calling him "hot".
When the trailer came out for Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile, people were mad because they felt like Zac Efron and Lily Collins would glamourize the story. Zac Efron plays Ted Bundy in the movie, and Lily Collins plays his then-girlfriend Liz Kendall. After watching the movie, I can say that it does anything but glamourize it. In fact, the story was told from Liz's side of things, and that made it way easier to watch.
During the first few minutes of the film, you actually get lost in the story. I forgot that Zac Efron's character was the bad guy, that's how good he portrays Ted Bundy. Zac looks so much like Ted that it's a little scary. Lilly Collin's recently revealed that Liz, who is Ted's ex-girlfriend, reached out and wanted to help with the project. While it may seem like it's fictionalized, this was her honest and true experience with Ted.
The movie jumps to different days and years because if you think about it, there's no way they'd be able to put everything Ted Bundy did into one movie. During the first half hour of the movie, Liz believes everything that Ted tells her. She doesn't listen to her friend and doesn't want to believe any of this is true. You can actually feel her heartbreak through it all, and the movie absolutely shows more of how Liz is suffering than how Ted is suffering.
The one thing about this movie that makes it unlike the others is that there is hardly any talk, and there is only brief footage of Ted trying to kidnap or murder any of his victims. The only way you hear about what he has done is during the court case and other random "home video" footage with news coverage over it. While I'm not completely sure what the motive was behind this, I think it's a great decision.
The story really picks up when Ted pretends he's making a phone call when in reality he's jumping out the window of the library and running away. This was actually a huge part in the Ted Bundy case, as he would jump off his bed in prison in order to strengthen his legs. The movie has some parts that aren't as nervewracking or that interesting, but every scene is beneficial to the story.
A lot of people watching may be surprised about a few things in this movie. One major thing is that the Ted Bundy charm comes out, but not as often as you'd expect. Another thing is how many actors you'll recognize and who you wouldn't expect at all. Haley Joel Osment plays Jerry, and you definitely know him as the little boy in The Sixth Sense. Jim Parsons from The Big Bang Theory plays a prosecutor. It's weird, but it works.
By the end of this movie, I realized that if you've seen The Ted Bundy Tapes on Netflix, then you've seen this movie. While the acting was great, the storyline was captivating and it was interesting to hear what happened from Ted's girlfriend's side of the story, nothing in the movie gives you a different perspective on things.
We all go into this movie knowing that Ted Bundy was one of the most vicious people to ever live, and you'll end Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile thinking the exact same thing. Lilly Collins and Zac Efron did a fantastic job of playing the characters. Whether it's the real Ted Bundy or Zac Efron wearing a huge bowtie and smiling at the camera, it all feels the same: creepy. But if you wanted something bone-chilling and new to talk about, this isn't it.
Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile is streaming now on Netflix.