“Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Vile And Evil” is a film about the notorious serial killer, Ted Bundy. Zac Efron stars as Bundy. Joe Berlinger directed this piece which was written by Michael Werwie. It was then in turn based on a memoir by a former girlfriend of Bundy’s, Elizabeth Kendall, author of “The Phantom Prince: My Life With Ted Bundy”. I have read quite a bit about various serial killers over the years, with Ted Bundy usually being at the forefront of many studies in this subject.
First of all, Efron was very well cast in this role. There were plenty of moments where he would particularly nail the part quite effectively and creepily.
The movie also stars Lily Collins as the beleaguered and conflicted Elizabeth Kendall. Jim Parsons, of “The Big Bang Theory” fame, is here as the prosecutor in Florida who sealed the final conviction that would lead to the execution. Parsons is a talented fellow, however I am not sure I completely bought into him being that formidable a prosecutor. John Malkovich Judge Cowart also seemed an odd casting selection. That pains me to say a bit because I love Malkovich in most parts. He just didn’t have the same presence as the real Cowart, whom I have seen in video excerpts of the real trial in Florida which took place in 1979. This was apparently first criminal trial to be broadcast nationally.
Jeffery Donovan and Haley Joel Osment are also part of this cast and do fine as well.
The talent here is pretty evident even if I sort of question the casting assignments.
My reaction to the film overall was a bit more mixed than I predicted. It felt like a bit of a jumble as to the order events were depicted. Much of it did focus on the effect the relationship with Bundy had on Kendall, which makes sense. I also felt that some other more interesting aspects were overlooked, such as Bundy apparently conceiving a daughter with Carole Ann Boone while incarcerated. On the other hand, I can sympathize with the plight of the filmmakers because there were so many facets to the Bundy story, it would have been hard to decide what to emphasize. Also, I did not know much about this thread with Elizabeth Kendall so I guess I learned something new to me anyway about Bundy’s bloody saga.
It manages to still be an interesting film, but it didn’t quite captivate me as much as I hoped. It also annoys me a little that I don’t entirely know why this fell a little short for me. Some parts of the storytelling just seemed a little clumsy at times. Anyway, it’s a good movie that should have been better.