Review of Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile

            If there’s one thing that Americans love learning about more than anything else, it’s serial killers. Joe Berlinger’s film Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile, which streams on Netflix, is about one of the most famous serial killers of all time: Ted Bundy. The two stars, Zac Efron and Lily Collins, portray the tale of Ted Bundy and his long-time girlfriend Liz Kendall, who helped write it, in a compelling way, making a movie that everyone is sure to enjoy. 

            The film depicts the story of the Ted Bundy tale from the perspective of Liz, who had a constant back and forth about his innocence. The film focuses on the trial, rather than the actual murders, which makes the film easier to watch by more people. The title comes from the judge’s words about Bundy’s actions. The movie actually makes you root for him in some ways because you aren’t sure that he has committed the crimes, as Liz was unsure. Eventually, with the faith wavering, he confirms to Liz only that he did these crimes by writing a single word on the prison glass for her to see: “hacksaw.”

Photo courtesy of Google Images

Efron’s performance is very accurate, as small details such as eye twitches and crooked smiles are mirrored very closely to Bundy’s mannerisms. Many scenes in the movie depict famous interviews and courtroom scenes very accurately, even down to the dialogue. The film also does a good job of portraying the public view that Bundy was innocent, especially by young women in the country. The set and costumes were all very fitting for the time, and everything was accurate to Liz’s story as she recounts it. Collins does a wonderful job of portraying someone who is undergoing a really draining experience, and her character development physically is very well done. The scene in which Bundy and Liz are talking on prison phones and Bundy writes “hacksaw” is very tense, emotional, and has you glued to the screen the entire time as you find out along with Liz who this man really was. He is also shown being manipulative to other characters, such as Carol Ann, and that he is self-interested. You also get the hint that Ted Bundy meant to kill Liz like another victim, but fell in love with her instead. 

            Without giving away too many spoilers, I will say that the film is very well made, from technical aspects such as editing, lighting, sound, and costuming, to pure entertainment value. If you have even the slightest interest in serial killers and want to learn the story without blatant exposure to the acts committed, this movie is a great pick for you and a wonderful exhibition of a side of the story that often gets pushed to the side. 

Overall, I recommend this film to anyone who is interested in the story of Ted Bundy and those who appreciate good film-making. This new take on a story that everyone has at least heard of allows for a new perspective into the case and a look into the past of when these events were taking place. Ted Bundy was not always a name everyone knew, he used to be beloved by millions and thought to be anything but “extremely wicked, shockingly evil and vile.”

Photo courtesy of Google Images