Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile

Extremely Wicked Shockingly Evil and Vile

In Theatres: 
May 03, 2019
Running Time: 
108 minutes

Joe Berlinger is no stranger to the true crime genre, most notably directing the film series Paradise Lost and the documentary series Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes. The latter fits perfectly with his next directorial project, Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile, which once again tells the story of Ted Bundy only instead of audio tapes and archival footage, we have Zac Efron playing the charming killer himself. Efron is excellent in the role, but the overall film undermines the horrific nature of who Bundy was.


Extremely Wicked follows Ted Bundy as he develops a relationship with Liz Kendall (Lily Collins). Simultaneously, he also finds himself being pursued by police for the murder of multiple college teenagers. He is arrested for kidnapping but Liz sticks with him, believing his innocence and that the police have a vendetta against him. Her patience is tested as more and more crimes and evidence are dug up, however. Bundy, meanwhile, uses his good looks and charm to attract the attention of the world and convince everyone of his innocence.


Zac Efron is the perfect actor to portray Ted Bundy, and he absolutely nails the performance. He’s got the good looks to attract all the ladies, and the confidence to keep them interested even after he’s been arrested for these horrible crimes. The film’s primary focus is on this aspect rather than the fact that he’s a murdering psychopath. The majority of the film, especially the beginning,makes it seem as if he’s actually innocent and being framed. If this were a purely fiction film it would have been fine, but this is Ted Bundy we’re talking about here.


There’s nothing innocent about him. Yes, he was charming but the film fails to also show the opposite of that. In fact, Efron is rarely shown doing anything bad. The worst he does in the film is punch a cop and then run away. We do see his crimes through actually police photographs and news stories that are spliced throughout, but we don’t physically see him commit them on screen in any fashion. It all follows the theme that he was this nice guy, despite audiences knowing the exact opposite.


Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile is hardly as the title suggests. It’s very tame as a matter of fact. Zac Efron succeeds in portraying all the so-called nice things about Bundy, but is never given the opportunity to fully embrace his evil side either. Personally, I would recommend The Ted Bundy Tapes over Extremely Wicked for a better overall picture of just the kind of monster Bundy was.

Matt Rodriguez
Review by Matt Rodriguez
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