The new Ted Bundy film must walk thin line to not romanticize


The trailer for Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile starring Zac Efron already has some concerned about how the movie will portray Ted Bundy.

True crime stories are definitely having a huge moment right now thanks to shows like Making a Murdrer and podcasts like My Favorite Murder. Yet, interest in true crime has been around for decades.

One infamous serial killer who intrigues and horrifies many is Ted Bundy. His story is coming to the forefront again thanks to a new documentary and biopic. Netflix recently released their documentary called Conversations With a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes. 

There is also a film set to come out titled Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile and starring Zac Efron as Bundy.

The film also stars Lily Collins who plays Bundy’s girlfriend, Elizabeth Kloepfer. The story will be told from her perspective and seems to follow his trials rather than the murders themselves (though there are sure to be some scenes and allusions to what happened).

The release of the trailer for Extremely Wicked has been followed by a wave of angry comments on social media, and it’s not hard to see why. The trailer’s tone is rather light-hearted with upbeat rock music playing throughout and an almost comical edge to the footage.

Of course, this is just a trailer, so it’s hard to make final judgments on what the actual film will be like and how it will portray Bundy and his story. Many people are concerned, however, by the approach the movie seems to be taking. It’s a difficult balance to figure out when making a film about a serial killer as notorious as Bundy. There is already so much focus on him as a figure and so little discussion or awareness of the victims and their families.

However, some who saw the film at Sundance have said that the trailer is misleading and focuses more on Kloepfer’s story.

In many ways, Bundy was one of the first serial killers to really capture public attention and obsession, and the curiosity is often understandable. But, it seems like extra care should be taken to not turn him into some sort of rock star. Being historically accurate is important, and the fact is Bundy was viewed as handsome and charismatic. This is something many who knew him talked about, so it’s important to understand how he used these traits to manipulate others and get away with what he did.

At the same time, further romanticizing Bundy does more harm than good. While it makes sense to cast Efron as Bundy for the purpose of portraying that charismatic side of him, the film needs to focus less on is likability and more on what violence and devastation he caused.

Hopefully, Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile will cast a more critical eye that challenges the viewer and doesn’t make Bundy out to be some sick version of an anti-hero. If the movie shows viewers how their own obsession with Bundy is just as problematic, it could be effective.

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What are your thoughts on this new trailer? Do you enjoy it or think it misses the mark? Share your thoughts with us!