Barely Bundy

By Kelsey Wells

Extremely wicked, shockingly evil and vile. These are the new words that come to mind when we hear the name Ted Bundy, the notorious serial killer who committed a series of crimes against women throughout the 1970s.

A certain fascination with him has been gripping millions of people since his conviction. Perhaps it’s his unconventional good looks, charisma or simply just the horrible nature of his crimes. Whatever the reason may be, dozens upon dozens of documentaries, movies and TV shows have been produced and released since his execution in 1989.

However, when the latest project, “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile,” premiered at the 2019 Sundance Festival in January, it was met with a far greater degree of criticism than praise.

The film chronicles his crimes — not from Bundy’s point of view this time, but from that of his girlfriend at the time who for several months refused to believe Bundy was capable of such terror.

The public’s opinion is something similar to disgust and borderline outrage. The main arguments of such outcry being that people feel the film is glorifying Bundy. They argue that his portrayal, being done by Zac Efron, romanticizes him and shows a lack of sympathy towards his victims and the families of such.

Since the film has only premiered at Sundance and not in theaters or on Netflix yet, most of these arguments come from viewings of the trailer. I can admit that after watching the trailer myself, the way in which they choose to portray Bundy does paint him in a bit of a favorable light.

However, I believe that there’s no real harm in doing this. Is it insensitive to the victims and their families? Absolutely. But we need to take a look at the film for what it is. We need to take a look at Bundy for what he is. The film is shot from the perspective of Bundy’s girlfriend, who believed nothing but the best about him for a long time and so naturally that is going to be reflected in the film.

Not only this, but Bundy was a very charming guy. That’s how he was able to do what he did. He accessed women and got them vulnerable enough to commit heinous crimes against them because of his charm and ability to romance them. He was not your typical serial killer and that is what makes him such an interesting person to look at.

If anything, I think the film takes an interesting perspective. One that is not often explored due to sensitivity issues. I look forward to it being released to the public so that we may see it in its entirety.