Well, if there’s one sentence that describes the life of serial killer Ted Bundy it’s Extremely Wicked Shockingly Evil and Vile. It kind of just rolls off your tongue, doesn’t it? First of all, we need to unpack the whole Zac Efron playing Ted Bundy thing. As someone who’s not the biggest fan of our pretty boy here, I must admit he was excellent here. He was Bundy as he was also quite attractive and used his looks to lure and then kill his unsuspecting victims. Lily Collins was also very good as his girlfriend Liz.
The title of the movie comes from one of the judges who described his murders as “extremely wicked, shockingly evil, vile, and the product of design to inflict a high degree of pain.” You can take many different approaches when you’re making a serial killer movie.
Over the years we’ve seen almost all of them but this one offers something new. It’s distant, detached and even humorous at times. Most of all, it’s refreshingly different, trying to show these events from Ted’s perspective. That way, we can try to get the big picture of what really happened and why.
The focus is the killer and not so much his crimes. It also details all the hype this case generated in the public including groupies gathering in and around the courtroom trying to catch a glimpse of this vicious and yet strangely attractive killer. Well, at least to some I guess. Also, I don’t know how much you know about the case but it’s a wild one. And I’m not talking about the murders per se as so much shit also went down after he was caught.
It is the year of our Lord Satan 1969, and young single mother Liz Kendall seems to have struck gold. She just met this handsome young man who seems to not only love her but also her young daughter. He’s very attentive and caring towards the two of them. However, she can sense that something might be off about him. And it’s going to turn out she was right.
Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile is based on a book his former girlfriend Liz wrote about their time together. We go back and forth through time focusing on specific events that marked both their lives. This type of storytelling is not my favorite but since the story here is so fascinating, I’m going to allow it. Speaking of which, we will also get our fair share of courtroom drama but also be spending some time outside, in the real world.
With a running time of just over 100 minutes and without graphic scenes, this is a pretty digestible movie considering what it’s about. If you want to continue in the same direction, I recommend you check out No Man of God. Released in 2021, it’s based on real life transcripts selected from conversations between Bundy and FBI Special Agent Bill Hagmaier. Finally, you can always check our Rabbit Reviews selection of Serial Killer Movies.
Director: Joe Berlinger
Writers: Elizabeth Kendall, Michael Werwie
Cast: Lily Collins, Zac Efron, Angela Sarafyan, Sydney Vollmer, Jeffrey Donovan, Haley Joel Osment
Fun Facts: Acting debut of Metallica frontman James Hetfield.