Pros: actors; documentary basis Cons: the film is about a serial killer whose story is known throughout the world. Therefore, the scriptwriters’ intrigue does not always work, and sometimes even downplays the cruelty of his crimes “Beautiful, Bad, Evil” / Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile
Genre crime thriller, biography
Directed by Joe Berlinger
Cast: Zac Efron (Ted Bundy), Lily Collins (Elizabeth Klopfer), Kaya Scodelario (Carol Anne Boone), Haley Joel Osment (Jerry), Jeffrey Donovan (John O’Connell), John Malkovich (Judge Edward Cowart), Jim Parsons (Larry Simpson), etc.
COTA Films, Voltage Pictures, Third Eye Motion Picture Company
Year of release 2019
The beginning of the film takes us to 1969 in Seattle. Single mother Elizabeth Klopfer (Lily Collins) meets a charming man named Ted Bundy (Zac Efron). They quickly become close and begin to live together. A few years later, Ted begins to travel to Salt Lake City, where he studies at the Faculty of Law. One day he does not return to Elizabeth due to a sudden arrest. Bundy is involved in legal proceedings in which he is accused of kidnapping. Police are also trying to link him to the disappearance of young women in several cities – all of the missing girls were last seen before they got into a Volkswagen Bug. Ted drives exactly the same car, but he categorically denies guilt and brilliantly defends himself.
Those who have never heard the life story of Ted Bundy will follow the plot of the tape with interest. They definitely shouldn’t read any further (seriously, they shouldn’t). For others who know what Bundy was like, the whole story will seem incomplete.
The basis for the film’s script was the memoirs of Elizabeth Kloepfer, who for years tormented herself with doubts and was not sure of the guilt of her boyfriend Ted Bundy. Not only Elizabeth was fascinated by him – even when he was in the dock, Bundy made women fall in love with him. His appearance and manner of presenting himself did not fit well with the accusations, so Ted attracted a lot of public attention.
The case of Ted Bundy was so terrible that he is still called one of the most brutal American serial killers. But the film’s script is carefully built around making it difficult for the viewer to believe these accusations. Therefore, we are never given an understanding of the extent of Ted’s crimes, concentrating on his “normal” side. This is the main problem of the film Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile – after watching it, it is worth reading the real biography of Bundy (it will contain all the shocking things that the title of the film suggests).
On the other hand, the picture strictly follows the facts, trying to accurately reproduce the details of the investigation. Screenwriter Michael Werwe puts into the actors’ mouths lines that were heard during Bundy’s trial – it was the first trial in history to be shown on television throughout the United States. These moments in the film are especially successful thanks to the direction of director Joe Berlinger, who has previously worked on documentary projects with a crime theme.
It was also a good idea for the filmmakers to cast Zac Efron in the role of a man who, despite all the evidence, inspired people’s trust. For Efron, who began his career in teen musicals and comedies, this is a new stage in his career. No matter what questions the script for Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile raised, the actor did everything he could for his part.
The film features several supporting roles for famous actors. Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory) and Haley Joel Osment (Forrest Gump) appear in the frame. Most memorable is John Malkovich as a judge, but Metallica frontman James Hetfield can be overlooked (he got the role of a police officer who stops Ted Bundy’s car).
In general, film adaptation of the life of a serial maniac is not always a good idea, especially if his story is still frightening with cruelty. For this reason, Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile fails to contain much suspense. But thanks to the surroundings, the actors and some plot twists, the film can be watched to the end.
The film is interesting due to the period in which the events take place and the phenomenon of sympathy for the suspect. However, he does not give a complete picture of the identity of the killer.