Ted Bundy movie faces critism for romanticizing a serial killer

Alyssa Bunde
Staff Writer

“High School Musical” star Zac Efron is no longer breaking free and soaring out of high school, but instead prison. The popular actor has taken on the role of Ted Bundy in the new film, “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile”. However, the unreleased movie has receivedheavy criticism.

Ted Bundy is a serial killer from the 1970s and is responsible for the brutal murder of 30 young women and girls. Despite his appalling actions, Bundy’s charm and good looks drew a high amount of public attention. Bundy didn’t fit the typical “role” of a serial killer, therefore, making it even more chilling. 

The new movie depicts Bundy’s gruesome murders from the point-of-view of his ex-girlfriend Elizabeth Kloepfer, according to Deadline. However, despite the aggressive title many criticsbelieve the movie is romanticizing the serial killer. 

The movie premiered at Sundance Film Festival on Jan. 26. Unfortunately, the movie will not be available for public viewing for some time. According to Refinery29, “When movies premiere at Sundance, it can take anywhere from four to 11 months before they are released in theaters.”

Kathy Rubin, survivor of a Bundy attack. shared her thoughts about the new movie. According to Cosmopolitan, she stated, “The movie does glorify it more than I think it should be.” She continued, “I think everyone should see it and understand him as what he was, even when he was the perfect son.”

Interestingly, the director of this controversial movie, Joe Berlinger, is also the director for the popular Netflix documentary series, “Conversations with A Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes”. The documentary received a positive response unlike Berlinger’s Bundy movie. 

The Hollywood Reporter praises Berlingers work on the Netflix documentary, stating it “does a cogent, propulsive job putting the appallingly prolific murderer’s story onscreen.”

One critic of the film, The Guardian, stated, “Efron is wicked, the film less so.”

Variety writer Owen Gleiberman attempted to understand the internet’s negativity towards the film. He states, “The movie devotes so much screen time to Bundy’s “normal” side, that you could make a case that the film itself is compartmentalizing Bundy’s evil.”

As an individual who has watched the Netflix documentary about Bundy and have heard about him endlessly due to the unfortunate same last name, I have my own thoughts regarding the trailer. 

Bundy has been described as a charming young man and as someone you would never think capable of murder. Therefore, Efron’s portrayal as being charming and charismatic seems fitting. 

Unfortunately, for the time being, all we have is a trailer and the opinions of others. Therefore, I believe it is vital to wait for the film’s release to decide anything concrete. 

Feature photo courtesy of the Associated Press.

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