Zac Efron Kills It as Ted Bundy in ‘Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile’ – Movie Review

Imagine thinking you have found the perfect partner. A gorgeous man that showers you with all the love and affection you could ever desire. He makes you feel so special that you feel your life would be shattered without him. Then abruptly one day your fairy tale is destroyed as you discover the love of your life is a serial killer. This is the experience provided by the new film, Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile (2019.)

Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile was just released to Netflix on May 3 and is a new take on telling the story of the infamous, Ted Bundy. It stars Zac Efron (High School Musical 2006, Neighbors 2014), Lily Collins (To The Bone 2017, The Blind Side 2009), Haley Joel Osment (The Sixth Sense 1999, Tusk 2014), Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory 2007-present, The Normal Heart 2014) , and John Malkovich (Bird Box 2018, Being John Malkovich 1999). It was directed by Joe Berlinger (Cold Blooded 2017).

Poster for 'Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile' (2019)
Poster for ‘Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile’ (2019)

The story tells us about Ted Bundy through the eyes of Elizabeth Kendall, his long time girlfriend. We see him as the loving and charismatic partner, not the brutal killer that he is known as. He is portrayed as a man that made her feel special. A man that cared for her daughter as if she was his own. The love of her life that she thought was her perfect man!

Zac Efron and Lily Collins in 'Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile' (2019)
Zac Efron and Lily Collins in ‘Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile’ (2019)

Let’s start with the acting performances in this film. Lily Collins is spectacular with her portrayal as Elizabeth Kendall. Then there is John Malkovich, who does a excellent job portraying Judge Edward Cowart, a great follow up performance to Bird Box (2018). However, the stand out star of this film is Zac Efron. His performance is phenomenal! His portrayal of Ted Bundy almost had me convinced that he was wrongfully convicted. He captured Bundy’s charm and manipulative behavior. It made me understand how this evil went undiscovered by so many and why his girlfriend believed and stood by him despite the evidence for so long.

John Malkovich and Zac Efron in 'Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile' (2019)
John Malkovich and Zac Efron in ‘Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile’ (2019)

This flick is all the buzz on social media right now. It seems like either people really love it or they hate it. Many that are criticizing the film are doing so because they are disappointed in the lack of gore and killing. The story is being told from Elizabeth Kendall’s perspective, so she didn’t see that side of him. It makes sense to leave most of the gruesome horror from the film since we are seeing this story of him from her view. Her experience.

Lily Collins as Elizabeth Kendall in '<i>Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile'</i><span style="float: none; background-color: transparent; color: #333333; cursor: text; font-family: Georgia,'Times New Roman','Bitstream Charter',Times,serif; font-size: 16px; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; text-align: left; text-decoration: none; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none;"> (2019)</span>
Lily Collins as Elizabeth Kendall in ‘Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile’ (2019)

The other big criticism of the movie is that it paints Ted Bundy in a good light. It makes him look like a good guy who is the victim of wrongful accusations. I do not believe that was the intention of the film, rather that is what Elizabeth Kendall saw from her perspective. She didn’t see the dark side he kept so hidden from her, as she only saw the handsome and loving boyfriend mask he wore. That is what makes this film so frightening even though it is a drama. The bad guys in real life don’t look like Jason or Freddy from our favorite horror flicks.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to movies about real life serial killers, I am not the biggest fan. Something about giving them notoriety for their crimes just doesn’t set well with me. Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile was quite a different approach from that typical serial killer movie though and I enjoyed every minute of it. Check it out for yourself and let me know what you think.

About Englewood29

A woman with a life long love affair of horror movies that enjoys supporting the horror community through her writing. .

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