Review: EXTREMELY WICKED, SHOCKINGLY EVIL AND VILE Offers An Entertaining But Messy Look Into The Life Of Bundy

FIRST IMPRESSION

Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile is definitely entertaining and had a unique perspective, if only the supporting characters were more developed.
Writing
Directing
Acting
Technical Merit

Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile is a new film about Ted Bundy from director Joe Berlinger, who also made the documentary Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes. Based on the memoir of Bundy’s former girlfriend Elizabeth Kloepfer, the movie offers a unique perspective on Bundy’s crimes. It debuted at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival.

One of this film’s biggest issues is that the narrative, particularly in the first half, is quite jumbled. The movie is presented in a nonlinear way and is not able to justify this structure. If you have a general knowledge of what happened, you will be able to follow what is going on in the story, but it can be relatively difficult to understand the film if you are coming in blind. Thankfully, the story does clear up significantly towards the second half when the main trial begins.

This movie has been met with controversy because of its supposed idealized portrayal of Bundy. The claim that the film glorifies Bundy isn’t entirely accurate. Bundy is known to have been quite charismatic and photogenic, and the movie does an excellent job of capturing those qualities of that personality. However, the film’s main purpose is to show the perspective of his former girlfriend, which changed from believing his innocence wholeheartedly to realizing that he was a monster.

That being said, for a movie that is supposedly about Elizabeth and her perspective, Elizabeth’s arc is frustratingly weak. She is given very little growth over the course of the film, with her only big change coming in the final scene. Since the movie is adapted from her memoir, you would think that she would have been a much more rounded and developed character. Something as simple as seeing more of her story when she wasn’t with Bundy would have gone a long way in making the film more effective.

extremely wicked birthday
Photo Credit: Brian Douglas.

Despite all its flaws, the movie still manages to be quite enjoyable and interesting. The true-crime genre has been experiencing a resurgence as of late, and this film is sure to capture the public’s eye. Although the nonlinear storyline is a bit confusing at times, it does lend itself to quick pacing, as you are constantly jumping between important events in Bundy’s life. However, the movie is at its most effective when the scenes get longer and the suspense starts to build.

The acting in the film is relatively solid. Zac Efron isn’t the revelation that many claim him to be, although he does a very good job of recreating some of the real-life footage that is shown over the credits. At times, it is hard to take him seriously because he is so over-the-top and you start to remember his previous roles. Lily Collins is solid in her role but is sadly underused. John Malkovich is great as the judge that presides over Bundy’s case.

On a technical level, the movie was pretty good. There are a few editing issues and odd directorial choices, like excessive use of slow-motion, but for the most part, the look of the film is nice. The production design does an excellent job of periodizing the movie and immersing you in the era in which these crimes were committed. The soundtrack also features some of the best songs of the time, making the film a bit more fun to watch.

Overall, Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile was an entertaining but extremely flawed movie. It is definitely worth your time to check it out, especially since it will be widely accessible on Netflix, but it doesn’t live up to its potential.

Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile debuts in select theaters and on Netflix on May 3.

TRENDING THIS WEEK

The 100 | Season 7 Episode 8 | Anaconda Promo | The CW

Stream new episodes of The 100 Thursdays free only on The CW: http://go.cwtv.com/genHNDyt SUBSCRIBE: http://go.cwtv.com/YTSubscribe About THE 100: The human race returns, after a 97-year exile in space, to a wildly transformed Earth...only to discover that the human race had never truly left. Clarke found herself forced to lead a band of disposable juvenile delinquents…

Insecure: Looking for LaToya – The Podcast | HBO

When 26 year-old LaToya Thompson went missing, Rose Cranberry hopped right on the case. In this exclusive podcast episode of Looking for LaToya, Rose conducts additional interviews with the people who knew LaToya best, talks to new witnesses, and uncovers additional eye-opening details about her disappearance. For more information, visit LookingForLaToya.com. Looking for LaToya stars…

Bulletproof | Season 2 Episode 4 | Bishop & Pike’s Rooftop Meeting Scene | The CW

Stream new episodes of Bulletproof Thursdays free only on The CW: https://go.cwtv.com/streamBLTyt SUBSCRIBE: http://go.cwtv.com/YTSubscribe About BULLETPROOF: Adrenalin-fueled and packed, Bulletproof follows two undercover cops, Bishop (Noel Clarke) and Pike (Ashley Walters) as they chase down hardened criminals in London's East End. Despite their differences, Bishop and Pike work brilliantly together even when the chemistry between…

Bully. Coward. Victim: The Story of Roy Cohn | Official Trailer | HBO

BULLY. COWARD. VICTIM. THE STORY OF ROY COHN takes an unflinching look at the life and death of infamous attorney Roy Cohn, who first gained prominence by prosecuting Julius and Ethel Rosenberg in what came to be known as the “atomic spies” case. Director Ivy Meeropol brings a unique perspective as the granddaughter of Julius…

Taste The Nation with Padma Lakshmi – The Gullah Way • A Hulu Original

ABOUT “THE GULLAH WAY” The Gullah Geechee people of South Carolina are fighting to preserve the traditions passed down from their ancestors, West Africans forced into slavery. Padma catches and cracks crab with new friends and old, all working towards reclaiming their heritage. ABOUT TASTE THE NATION WITH PADMA LAKSHMI In Taste the Nation, award…

Better Things | Season 4: Mother of the Year | FX

Sam Fox. Mother of every year. Watch every episode of Better Things on FX on Hulu to experience life with the Fox fam. Subscribe now for more Better Things clips: http://bit.ly/SubscribeFX Better Things is the story of Sam Fox, a single mother and working actor with no filter, raising her three daughters in Los Angeles.…

I Know This Much Is True: Final Reflections | HBO

The cast and crew of I Know This Much Is True look back and share thoughts and feelings on making the series as a whole. All episodes are available now. #HBO #IKnowThisMuchIsTrueHBO #IKTMIT Subscribe to HBO on YouTube: https://goo.gl/wtFYd7 Based on the 1998 bestselling novel by Wally Lamb, adapted and directed by Derek Cianfrance, this…

Consider This: Illuminating Documentaries | HBO

Uncover and catch up on these compelling stories including Atlanta’s Missing and Murdered: The Lost Children, McMillion$, The Apollo, Who Killed Garrett Phillips, I Love You, Now Die and more. #HBO #HBODocs Subscribe to HBO on YouTube: https://goo.gl/wtFYd7 Watch Now Get HBO: https://itsh.bo/ways-to-get Get More HBO Official Site: https://itsh.bo/dotcom Twitter: https://twitter.com/HBODocs Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/hbo Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/hbodocs…
Avatar
Sean Boelman
Sean is a film student, aspiring filmmaker, and life-long cinephile. For as long as he can remember, he has always loved film, but he credits the film Pan's Labyrinth as having started his love of film as art. Sean enjoys watching many types of films, although some personal favorite genres include dramatic comedies, romantic comedies, heist films, and art horror.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here