People have a tend to be drawn into crime stories and the tales that are told from them. One of the most famous crime stories is that of Ted Bundy. Ted Bundy of course is the crazed psycho that went on a murder spree from February 1974 – December 1977 resulting in the deaths of 30+ women. Many people have been fascinated by this case because there has never been anything like it. He killed so many people and remained uncaught for such long periods of time, he escaped twice from custody, and had a trial that was televised like a soap opera on TV.
With the influx of documentaries and interest in the case, it was only a matter of time before we got a movie, enter Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile. The movie stars Zac Efron as Ted Bundy and Lily Collins as his lover Elizabeth Kloepfer. It tells the story of the years when Bundy met Kendall, up until his execution in 1989. As always this is a SPOILER post so don’t read ahead if you haven’t watched.
High: Zac Efron
Zac Efron is one of those actors that is extremely talented, but tends to not get taken seriously because of his introduction into Hollywood. We all know that he got his start on the Disney film craze High School Musical, and ever since those movies ended Efron has been taking on roles in movies trying to break away from those movies. While he doesn’t have a blockbuster movie to his name, he has however shown that he is a talented actor and can play quite the range of characters. Recently we have seen him go for a more comedic route in his films, but this is a rather new territory for him.
His casting in this role couldn’t have been better. Ted Bundy was always an interesting case for the world. He was a smooth talking, very smart and good looking person, but on the same coin this horrible monster. Efron has that same feel, minus the horrible monster, and even somewhat resembles him. The part is perfect for him and he does a fantastic job in the role. People have spoken about their displeasure in this sexualizing of Ted Bundy, but what fail to realize is that that is what was happening during the trail. Women were showing up to the trail due to the fact that here was this smart and good looking man in their presence. There is even interviews showing women talking about how good looking he is, and that someone that good looking can’t do something like this.
Efron does a fantastic job playing the character and this movie shows the range that he has as an actor and what he is capable of doing. He makes you drawn to the character where you find yourself sometimes believing him and then realizing what am I doing believing this horrible monster. Hopefully people will see him as the actor he is in this role and he can find himself in things other than slapstick comedies.
Lows: The Pacing
The movie spans a collective of about 4 years from 1974-1977, with the ending being the execution of Bundy in 1989. The movie starts of with the meeting between Lily Collins character Elizabeth ‘Liz” Kloepfer and Efron’s Ted Bundy. We then see him slowly integrating himself into her life and trying to almost become this father figure and perfect man for her daughter and her. While this is going on he is living this double life murdering women. What is difficult to follow is how many women he is considered to be killing, when he is doing it, and what is going on with his living. When they meet the movie is in Seattle, then all of a sudden we see him living in Utah going to school to become a lawyer at the University of Utah.
At this point he has begun his murdering spree but Elizabeth is still living at home in Washington with her daughter while he is in Utah. He then gets arrested and tried in Utah. He then quickly gets extradited to Colorado, then escapes again, then goes to Florida and gets caught in Florida. Were you able to keep up? Ya neither were we. It didn’t really translate on screen because it was this long period of time, but in the movie was rushed very quickly through. Also while this is all happening they never really talk about how many women are being killed. It never really goes into how many women he killed, which kind of takes from how much of a muderer he was.
High: Lily Collins
Lily Collins has been around for a while, but hasn’t really gotten the credit that she deserves due to the movies that she has been in. She got a little more credit from the Netflix movie Okja, but this movie should really start to get her name out there. Lily Collins in this role is fantastic. She takes this role portraying Elizabeth Kloepfer and brings it to life. You can make the argument that at times, she steals the movie from Zac Efron which is a big deal when the movie is about his character.
Collins said that she took this role very very seriously and took getting into character as far as meeting with the real Elizabeth Kloepfer and her daughter and had them tell her her story. Collins has said that this role became very real to her. She said that while they were filming the movie, that she would sleep and wake up in the middle of the night at 3:05 am, which she learned was the most active time for paranormal actives, and feel as if the victims of Ted Bundy were communicating in certain ways to her. She said that “I started being woken up by flashes of images, like the aftermath of a struggle. I didn’t feel scared—I felt supported. I felt like people were saying: ‘We’re here listening. We’re here to support. Thank you for telling the story.”
She was definitely an amazing casting for this movie and played opposite of Zac Efron’s Bundy very well. It was nice to see her in a lead actress role and be able to show off her talents. She is definitely going to be recognized a lot more for her roles in the future and her follow up to this movie is another lead actress role in Tolkien, which is another fantastic looking movie. So hopefully this movie will help project her even more into the spotlight.
Low: Unclear Direction
The whole premise of Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile is that the movie is supposed to tell the story of Ted Bundy through the eyes of his longtime girlfriend Elizabeth Kloepfer. Kloepfer story is one that is shocking in its own right because she chose to believe that Bundy did not and was not capable of such horrific crimes, and never choosing to leave Bundy until the very end. While the story starts off clearly showing that the story is through Kloepfer’s eyes and her point of view, it quickly becomes lost in the story of Ted Bundy.
The problem with how the movie is telling this story is that it is shown and advertised as Lily Collins character Elizabeth’s story. Unfortunately it seemed like director Joe Berlinger couldn’t quite figure out the balance between telling Elizabeth’s story without it completely being overshadowed by Bundy and his crimes. Understandably it is going to be hard to tell this type of story without getting into the Bundy character, but there were times where it felt that Elizabeth was’t even important anymore. If they wanted to show the story through her eyes, they should have done more things like showing her watching the trials and her reactions. Instead they just did quick little flashes of her reactions, while avoiding her character for Bundy’s instead.
The movie isn’t the bombshell and big hit that we were expecting but thats ok. If you are someone that enjoys the crime and punishment story that a famous criminal case tells, then you are going to enjoy the movie. What the movie lacks in great story telling, it makes up by all the actors who give stellar performances in the movie. Not only were Efron and Collins great, the supporting cast of John Malkovich, Jim Parsons, and Haley Joel Osmond, help push the movie forward and make it good. It is definitely worth a watch seeing Efron and Collins portray this horrible and tragic story where they can show off their fantastic acting skills.
Categories: Highs & Lows