REVIEW: Zac Efron portrays Ted Bundy

Confrontation —Kendall, played by Lily Collins, visits Ted Bundy to verify whether the accusations made against him are true or not. Courtesy of voltage pictures

By Juan Calvillo

The Netflix film “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile” tells the story of Ted Bundy through the perspective of his fiance, Elizabeth Kendall.

The movie is based on the book written by Kendall, “The Phantom Prince: My Life with Ted Bundy.”

In the Netflix adaptation of the novel, the movie shows Kendall meeting Bundy and takes viewers to the end of Bundy’s execution.

“Evil and Vile” is truly a hypnotic movie to behold. The picture painted begins to show Bundy as a somewhat sympathetic or mistakenly accused man.

Smartly though, it also allows for the audience to slowly begin to chastise themselves as Bundy racks up accusation after accusation.

This is handled through the slow realization from Kendall, portrayed by Lily Collins, has about Zac Efron’s character, Bundy.

Collins is an extremely gifted actress and her role as Bundy’s fiancé shows the powerhouse skill and talent she’s acquired over multiple movies.

From the moment the audience meets Kendall, it is perfectly clear that there is something inherently broken or missing in her life.

Almost all of the pain, joy, and sadness in the movie truly comes through Collins’ eyes and slight facial expressions.

The best example of the inner turmoil her character goes through is perfectly seen when Kendall and Bundy have a heart-to-heart conversation late in the film.

This is not to say that Collins’ co-star, Efron, is a slouch as Bundy. The charismatic serial killer, can be argued as the first courtroom reality star.

Archival footage proves that dramatic license was hardly taken during some of the more impossibly odd moments in the movie.

These scenes were very much like the real life moments that the once-living Bundy had.

Efron exudes the same level of charisma on screen as Bundy had in his daily life.

Every lie, half truth and promise Efron makes as Bundy is believable and feels true.

The simple twist of his smile makes the audience forget that the person on screen is the villain and it’s all due to Efron’s effortless acting and charm.

This is one of the reasons it’s so easy to like Bundy.

The film also never shows any of the killings that Bundy claimed were his own. This makes it even harder to really hate him.

Luckily though, the facade that Bundy had built around him slowly falls away and the charming side of Bundy shows its cracks as the    movie goes on.

In later moments the quick change from confidence to anger and edginess is impressive. And Efron handles all of it effortlessly.

The movie has an interesting line up of additional big named stars from Jim Parsons and Haley Joel Osment to John Malkovich, but it’s Malkovich who stays with the audience after viewing the movie.

Playing Florida Judge Edward D. Cowart, Malkovich portrayal reflects what many people at the time, and many after seeing this movie, were of two minds when it came to Bundy.

Netflix has made countless strides in the entertainment industry and has set itself apart by doing both movies and television with ease.

“Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile” is an interesting take on the story of serial killer Bundy.

The acting and rawness of the characters, specifically Collins, shows just how easy it can be to twist the mind and emotions of a person.

It also reminds the viewer that while Bundy was a serial murder, he also managed to destroy the lives of those immediately around his victims and those around himself.

“Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile” is rated R for disturbing/violent content, some sexuality, nudity, and language.

It is available to stream now on Netflix.

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