I’ll be the first to admit it, I’m not Zac Efron’s biggest fan. It’s nothing against his personality or even as a person because he always comes across as sincere and very kind. Actually, I wouldn’t say I’m not his biggest fan; it’s more of a disappointment knowing that he can achieve more. I’ve been very open to the fact that a few of his previous films including ‘Baywatch’ and ‘Bad Neighbours 2’ have been the perfect example of potential going to waste. I’ll link my reviews for those at the bottom of this page so that you can see for yourself. Once I heard the news that Efron had been cast to portray Ted Bundy in a film directed by American filmmaker Joe Berlinger, I became excited to see a Zac Efron movie, for the first time ever.
Berlinger has followed his brilliant Netflix documentary ‘Conversations with a killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes’ with a different spin on the story of America’s most brutal serial killers. Whilst the documentary closely examined the psyche of Bundy and told the overall story of the killer’s life and crimes, this feature film is based upon the book by Elizabeth Kendall, the woman romantically linked with Bundy before and during his heinous crimes. The documentary and film go hand-in-hand extremely well and paint a picture in the most humane way and most importantly, not in a way to glorify Ted Bundy at all. Berlinger, well known for his documentary work, has come out of this project with a chilling documentary and a good film also. His ability to tell the story from multiple perspectives is impressive and manages not to become repetitive. The doc is a lot more effective and engaging as oppose to the film itself which is no match. Personally there isn’t anything negative to say about the film at all, but I implore you to watch the Netflix documentary also.
The casting for the lead in this film was always going to be a tricky one indeed. To portray one of the most evil characters in modern history is one that could ruin the image of any particular actor. Known for his roles as a pretty boy and an all-star basketball/singing superstar in high school, Zac Efron has taken a huge gamble playing Bundy and in my opinion, that gamble has paid off. Not only has it shined a light on a different part of Efron’s acting ability, which many people haven’t seen before, he also manages to transform into Bundy. Just as Bundy did himself in news reporting’s and in the courtroom, Efron takes front and centre of this film and is the one everyone wants to see. His ability to show vulnerability, deception and pure evil in one stare is extremely impressive and also chilling. But the most impressive part is even though everyone knows he is guilty of his crimes, Efron manages to make you doubt yourself, which is exactly how we would assume many people felt who were around Bundy during the trials.
My hope is that the reception to this film is positive and will move Efron’s career into a different direction. There is clear talent that he possesses, but his choice of work can be frustrating at times. His performance is by far one of the best this year, yet unfortunately is in a film that’s not amazing by any means. ‘Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile’ is available on Netflix in America and on Sky in the United Kingdom. It’s definitely a film that is worth watching, even if you’re a fan of Efron’s previous work or not.