“Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile”

On May 3, 2019, Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile premiered on Netflix. Audiences had been awaiting the release of this new film starring Zac Efron since its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in late January of this year. The film was based on a memoir written by Elizabeth Kloepfer (using the well-known pseudonym, Kendall, in place of her last name) entitled, Phantom Prince: My Life With Ted Bundy. Liz Kendall was portrayed by actress Lily Collins. Ted Bundy, the notorious American serial killer of the mid 70’s, was represented by Efron, bringing about a bit of controversy from the public.

 

Efron has always embodied charm and charisma in film, from his teen role in High School Musical to his more “adult” roles like The Greatest Showman and Neighbors. Fans were unsure about his role in this film after its announcement, questioning if this would either ruin Efron’s presence in television or glamourize Bundy’s crimes.

 

 

After watching this film, I must say that Efron did an impeccable job taking on the role of Bundy, and I may even go as far as to suggest that this was his best acting yet. Efron was a bit hesitant when taking on this role, but when agreeing to do so, wanted to ensure that he represented Bundy appropriately. There were reports that Efron was unable to “separate” from his character while filming, but this was taken out of context once investigating the original comments.

 

Efron noted that while filming, he wanted to see to it that Bundy was represented as closely as possible to the ways in which he was presented in the media at the time of his trials. Efron did not want to disservice the victims of Bundy’s crimes by taking the role too lightly, so he ensured that the sheer horror of Bundy’s personality was tangible in the film. When mentioning that it was “almost impossible” to separate himself from his character, Efron was alluding to the effort he was making to represent Bundy as the despicable man the world came to know. He mentioned that it was difficult to leave the character on set because of the horrendous crimes that he had committed, and representing him brought about a multitude of emotions.

At the end of the film, there were clips of the real-life Bundy in multiple situations that were reenacted during the screening. It was clear that, from these clips, Efron had truly dedicated a tremendous amount of time to present the characteristics that were palpable in Bundy’s persona. Efron truly fit the role in that he, being the charismatic actor women like me have grown up watching, embodied exactly what made Bundy “appealing” to women of his time.

 

This film exemplified the horrors of Bundy’s crimes, following Collins’ character, Liz Kendall, around as she suffered through the various trials and accusations that led her to accept Bundy for his true self--a murderer. Collins did a phenomenal job portraying such a complicated role, expressing the grief of losing trust in someone she once loved, while also following her gut instinct and protecting her daughter.

All in all, this film was complicated, horrific, and unsettling. The cast did an incredible job emphasizing the horrors of Bundy’s crimes, seeing to it that women around the globe are fully aware of the acts that an “average joe” can ensue.

 

The title says it all..

Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile.