‘Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile’ raises questions about infamous killer


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The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on Jan. 26.

With the recent release of Netflix documentary series “Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes” comes the release of a new movie trailer. “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile” is a thriller revolving around the life of infamous serial killer, Ted Bundy.

One of the most common household names of our time, Bundy is known for his horrendously violent crimes, depicted once again in the new production. However, this time it comes with a twist: Written in the perspective of Bundy’s long term girlfriend, Elizabeth Kloepfer, the film narrates Ted’s crimes through the eyes of someone that loved him.

Kloepfer (Lily Collins) allows the audience to see Ted not as a monster, but as the charming young man that he was in the public eye. Zac Efron, who plays Bundy, embodies the criminal by turning up the charm in calculated ways. Bundy was successful as a serial killer because he was someone that no one would have suspected. He was known to be handsome, mysterious and highly intelligent. He was a model citizen with hopes of becoming a politician.

The Netflix series, “Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes,” provides quotes from former companions of Bundy, all of whom could not believe the accusations against him. Bundy used these advantages to attempt to seduce his way out of criminal circumstance. Ironically, it was his seduction that allowed him to get as far as he did. The film trailer hints at these characteristics by emphasizing his flirtation, looks and physique.

The emphasis on Bundy’s perceived charm and attractiveness have sparked controversy as some believe the film is romanticizing the narrative much more than is appropriate. Should the stories of serial killers like Ted Bundy be told and retold over time? Are they merely meant to satisfy public curiosity, or do they bring about more harm than good by re-igniting conversation?

One thing’s for sure: The topic of serial killers is one that has been trending for decades, and it does not seem like it will lose traction any time soon. In 2017, we saw the release of “My Friend Dahmer,” a film focused on serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer directed by Marc Meyers. Director Joe Berlinger of “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile” is merely continuing on pre-existing works.

Both the Netflix docu-series and thriller were first released on the 30th anniversary of Bundy’s Florida execution. The film rates 63 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, and the public continues to anxiously await its public release.