Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile Review

Ted Bundy. It’s one of those names that leaves that sour taste in your mouth. A name that is synonymous with the term “serial killer”. You’ve all heard about him in one way or another and in this film the man himself is brought to life. Director, Joe Berlinger, takes us inside the life and trial of one of the most infamous killers in history. Here we take a look at the latest Netflix original film Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile.

What I Liked

One of my biggest personal takeaways from Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile initially were the performances. We get some wonderful acting throughout the entire movie from people like Lily Collins, Haley Joel Osment, Kaya Scodelario, and John Malkovich. However the most impressive performance has to come from the leading man himself, Zac Efron.

Efron has shown his acting chops in the past with films like The Paperboy, but I must say this is probably his best performance to date. Largely known as a pretty boy, Efron fit into this role like a glove. He has the charisma and confidence that make him perfect for playing Ted Bundy whose charm was one of his most dangerous weapons.

Another aspect of the film that worked for me was how grounded and humanizing it was with Ted Bundy. It doesn’t show the gruesome and grotesque side of him but the caring and charming side. Joe Berlinger goes into this film with the intent of making you relate and feel bad for this man, and it works. He makes you understand why people, especially females, were drawn to him.

The final minor detail I enjoyed throughout the film was the choice of soundtrack. Every song seemed to fit what was happening and gave a different feel to a movie that should and could have been much darker.

What Could Have Been Improved

There were a few minor elements in Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile that just didn’t work for me. The biggest one that stuck out was the editing. It was pretty jarring and choppy at times to the point where you aren’t even sure if there has been a time jump or not.

Along with the editing was the directing. Everything Berlinger did was pretty by the numbers, save for a few POV shots that I thought were really well done and placed.

Finally there were a couple characters that should be fleshed out or done better. Lily Collins does an amazing job as Liz but her the writing of her character did her no favors. We see her jump from happy, straight to an alcoholic, back to happy with no in-between. We also aren’t given any interaction with Liz and her daughter, which is a relationship that would have been interesting to see more of based on the events happening around them.

Final Thoughts

I personally enjoyed Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vilebut don’t go into it expecting to see the evil side of Ted Bundy. The focus here is on the relationships, trial, and the charming person behind these crimes. It leans fully into being a character study as opposed to being just another killer thriller, which is something I really appreciate about it. If you have interest at all in Ted Bundy I would suggest Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile.

Overall Score 3.5/5


About the Author
Andy is a contributing writer on the Back Lot 605 team. Movies have always been a big part of his life but his biggest influence in his joy of movies comes from growing up around his step brother, who worked at a video store and wanted to be a director. This led to seeing a lot of dramas and John Wayne movies as a kid. Since then some of his favorite movies include Whiplash, Interstellar, Lord of the Rings, and Gladiator. There isn’t a single genre Andy doesn’t like, but he has a soft spot for Disney, romantic comedies, westerns, and dramas.
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