“People don’t realize that murderers do not come out in the dark with long teeth and saliva dripping off their chin. People don’t realize that there are killers among them. People they liked, loved, lived with, work with, and admired, could the next day, turn out to be the most demonic people imaginable.”
Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile tells the story about infamous serial killer, Ted Bundy. Though the film focuses on the years surrounding Bundy’s trial, it does provide a sinister look into his twisted and “good-looking” personality. I’ve heard of Bundy throughout my life, even having a family member who knew one of Bundy’s only survivors, though she remains anonymous until this day. Extremely Wicked does try to tackle the ominous subject of Bundy’s murders, but even with an interesting subject such as this, it can’t save this messy story from being so melodramatic.
The news of Zac Efron’s portrayal was met with some scrutiny on its initial announcement. But when Efron’s pictures emerged, those concerns dwindled, and rightly so. Efron’s performance, from what we know about Bundy’s true character, is as close as we’re going to get to an accurate characterization. This is, hands down, Efron’s best performance of his career. His sinister demeanor, paired with the charm of a young and handsome law student, really do come together with this performance. Even so, Lily Collins, who plays Bundy’s ex-fiancé, does a decent job as she is tormented with this whole situation. However, there are many times when her character just lays on the couch in a deep depression, which isn’t necessarily Academy Award winning acting. But nonetheless, Collins’ performance is leaps and bounds better than the problems I saw with Extremely Wicked. See, my biggest problem isn’t with the acting, but rather the overall story that just cannot come together.
The performances, though decent, completely out way the storytelling. The story, or overall narrative, is extremely boring. If you took the leap and watched the Netflix documentary, Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes, which was also directed by Extremely Wicked’s director, Joe Berlinger, that should be sufficient enough. Extremely Wicked does nothing to provide new information about Bundy’s trial or his mental instability. The film just reiterated what has been said in every Bundy news report. There’s hardly any violence onscreen, or any scenes that would turn this into a more riveting film. But sadly, you could have gotten away with either watching the Netflix documentary, or watching any news source’s material about Bundy’s killings.
There was so much hype surrounding Extremely Wicked, but after watching this film, all I can say is it is just that: hype. The acting was decent, but the characters were bland and the story was nothing more than what has been said before. Extremely Wicked has its redeeming qualities, but those are sporadic. If you never sit yourself down to watch this film, you really won’t be missing anything.
Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile
Starring: Zac Efron, Lily Collins, Kaya Scodelario, and Hayley Joel Osment