Zac Efron delivers in Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile, an engaging true-life drama based on the crimes of Ted Bundy. Bundy was one of America’s most high-profile serial killers, having confessed to over 30 murders before his execution in 1989. Directed by Joe Berlinger, the film skips the more salacious aspects of Bundy’s crimes, instead opting to look at his relationship with girlfriend Liz Kendall (Lily Collins).
With a title derived from the Judge’s summation of Bundy’s crimes when he was convicted of murder, Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile pretty much hit screens at the same time as Joe Berlinger’s Netflix documentary series, Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes. It’s a wonderful companion piece which looks at a very different aspect to Bundy’s crimes.
The major selling point of Berlinger’s dramatisation is Efron’s performance as Ted Bundy. It’s miles away from High School Musical days or his cinematic romantic leads. He manages to capture the essence of Bundy, the charismatic killer who became adored my many US women when his Florida murder trial was broadcast on television. Lily Collins also does good work as Liz Kendall, but her role doesn’t quite have the same showy nature as what Efron has the opportunity to deliver. A shout-out must also be given to the mighty John Malkovich who makes the most of his small role as the Judge who oddly appears to take something of a shine towards the serial murderer.
Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil is an intriguing premise which shows the man behind the monster. It doesn’t really offer any great insight into Ted Bundy’s crimes but it is a good profile of the man himself. It’s a film built around Zac Efron’s performance and for that it has to be recommended.