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Rated 3 stars
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ReelTalk Movie Reviews
Smile and Smile Yet Be a Villain
by Betty Jo Tucker

Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile focuses on the relationship between serial killer Ted Bundy and his naÔve girlfriend Liz Kendall. Zack Efron and Lily Collins portray the lead roles in this intense drama based on ďThe Phantom Prince: My Life with Ted Bundy,Ē Kendallís memoir. Despite their difficult roles, these two actors meet that challenge and deliver outstanding performances.

Before seeing the film, I had no doubt about Collins, mostly because of her splendid dramatic turn in To the Bone. But I wasnít sure about Efron. Please donít hate me because I prefer him in musicals like High School Musical and The Greatest Showman. I never expected to see Efron as a wicked, evil and vile character like Ted Bundy, who viciously killed so many young women back in the 1970s and became one of the FBIís most wanted criminals.

Regarding Liz, she may have had inklings about the dark side of her law school boyfriend, but Ted never showed her or her daughter any sign that he was capable of violence. In fact, he always seemed caring and sensitive in his interactions with them.

According to Joe Berlinger, director of this movie and the The Ted Bundy Tapes documentary series, Bundy was incredibly adept at compartmentalizing his life. Berlinger says, ďHe truly did have a life in which he had a positive relationship with this woman and was like a surrogate father to her daughter. He would come home to a normal family situation.Ē     

What in the world has casting done?

Ted Bundy played by Zak Efron!

A decision like that seems bold.

And yet it proves to be true gold.

 

Efron projects Tedís gentle side

plus the evil of Jekyllís Hyde.

So innocent he also looks.

Not like so many other crooks.

 

A handsome and smooth-talking con,

Ted kills women with abandon.

Twenty murders he did at least,

proving he was a brutal beast.

 

Lily Collins as Tedís girlfriend

wins empathy through to the end.

This film may be quite hard to see,

but itís well-done and surprised me.

 

Bundy should have been caught long before he was, but he avoided detection because so many people around him believed in him. --- Joe Berlinger

I donít feel guilty for anything. I feel sorry for people who feel guilt. --- Ted Bundy

(Released by Netflix and rated ďRĒ by MPAA.)

For more information about Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile, go to the IMDb or Rotten Tomatoes website.


                                                                                                                                                                               
 
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