Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile

It’s hard out there for a single woman. And there is perhaps nothing more illustrative of that fact than the woman who stayed with Ted Bundy, infamous serial killer.

Liz (Lily Collins) is the dumb bitch and Ted (Zac Efron) is the charming son of a gun who gets away with it.

Liz wants to believe him. Or she wants to want to believe him. Sure it’s increasingly hard when the convictions start rolling in and other states start throwing in their charges as well. The country is littered with the bodies of dead young women. It’s getting tricky to be in love with Ted Bundy. But no matter how much evidence piles up against him, no MV5BMTk5NzEyNTY0M15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNzA4MTU4NjM@._V1_SX1777_CR0,0,1777,893_AL_matter how much sense it makes to her rational self, the heart is a stubborn muscle, and it often betrays common sense. There’s an early scene wherein Liz and Ted go dog shopping at a local shelter. She walks by some real cuties, including the unicorn of dog shelters, a real life golden retriever puppy, but she sets her eyes on a dog even I thought looked suspicious. “It’s going to tear her throat out,” I said, half joking. And then it turned aggressive a split second later. Liz is as good at choosing dogs as she is at choosing men.

Liz isn’t the only one who doesn’t take him seriously enough. The cops often have him behind bars only to let him slip away. One mustache later and he’s picking up women again. And, you know, brutally murdering them. But the movie completely glosses over those parts. Rather it focuses on Bundy’s manipulation of the women in his life, of the truth and what it means, of the judicial system itself, of the media and its perception of him. Bundy is the ring master of a certified media circus, and a continued magnet for a certain brand of chick who insist they find him “dreamy.”

Strangely, the film seems more in contempt of the women who love and help and care for him than it is of the man convicted of so many vile and wicked crimes. It’s an odd take I’m not sure the world needed it. The only thing that saves this movie from itself is Zac Efron’s performance, and I bet you never thought you’d hear anyone say that in your life. As Bundy, Efron is a man of misplaced convictions, a man who believes his own lies – and his own hype. He’s a shark, but he’s also a master of charm and good manners when he’s not ripping into your flesh. And while it’s a compelling performance, it’s also part of the problem. The movie with the long, annoying title shows all the facets of Bundy’s personality that a woman might fall for, and very little of the terrible violence he perpetrated on dozens of innocent victims.

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10 thoughts on “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile

  1. Gertrude T Kitty

    My daughter and I watched this last night and I thought Zac’s portrayal was brill. It chilled my bones at the end when Ted writes in the condensation. The dog bit I interpreted as the saying ‘dogs and children always know’. They sense evil. It was easy to see how she fell for him…but it must have been more than a likeness to the photofit, maybe a mother’s inert protection. I know what you mean about the point of the film…despite the title it portrayed Bundy as a rogue, a romancer like there was gonna be this revelation that Bundy was innocent. Then we had the finale. I have to say I enjoyed it whilst being freaked out. In my novel The Rebirth of Henry Whittle the message is evil comes in defined cheekbones and warm eyes. Loved your review 🌸

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  2. robbinsrealm

    Good review!

    I watched it last night, and I agree with you Zac Efron did a good job. When I first heard he was going to be portraying Ted Bundy, I shook my head in disbelief. I didn’t think he could credibly pull it off. The script, however, was tailored to Efron’s strengths, his looks and the charm he was able to exude as Bundy to the women who fell for him. The scene at the end of the film, where he did show the murderous side of Bundy, was saved for the perfect moment, in regard to the overall film.

    I still think based on all of the actors who I’ve seen play Bundy, that Mark Harmon gave the best performance portraying Bundy in the mini-series “The Deliberate Stranger.”

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  3. Invisibly Me

    I’m really glad you said Efron’s performance was so good in this, and actually I’ve changed my mind about him over the years as I think he’s been pretty good in a few things (I’m shocked to say it too!). I’m quite looking forward to giving it a watch. x

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  4. Tom

    I . . . cannot imagine this film going down well with many viewers. I myself am curious about it but across the board reviews are saying how peculiar the angle is. Hm . . .

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  5. selizabryangmailcom

    I dislike serial killer movies too. Took me forever to read/see The Lovely Bones.
    But a very strange take, indeed, to focus on the “dumb” women who fell for Bundy. Very, very, very strange………

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  6. tarmac492

    Is it strange I always thought Efron was a decent actor? I never saw him in any of those teeny romances(I swear!!!) I liked him in the role in Liberal Arts and I thought he was good in We Are Your Friends. It took Tom Hanks a few years to be Tom Hanks……

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  7. Sam Simon

    Thank you for your review! The idea of looking at a serial killer from the point of view of his wife/girlfriend is intriguing, but it doesn’t sound like they did it right…

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