Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile
Director: Joe Berlinger
Cast: Zac Efron, Lily Collins, Kaya Scodelario, Jim Parsons, John Malkovich
Running time: 108 minutes
Rating: 3 and a half stars
One of the biggest surprises in this movie is there are no gruesome scenes - barring that given in the court evidence. Based on the memoir "The Phantom Prince: My Life with Ted Bundy" by Elizabeth Kloepfer, the film focuses on how this wily and truly evil serial killer, rapist, burglar, and necrophile was perceived by his girlfriend Liz and a host of other women.
Bundy was a law student. From the way the movie portrays him, to all accounts and purposes, Ted or Theodore was a charming young man, intelligent and persuasive; well informed and with a singular gift of the gab.
After more than a decade of denials, Bundy confessed to 30 homicides he committed in seven American states between the years 1974 and 1978. He was electrocuted in Florida State prison in 1989. The film takes the audience primarily through the court cases and the way he conned both the victims and the public at large about his real and utterly horrific character.
It's well into the film that the audience is made privy in one of the court sessions to photographs of what Bundy had done to some of the women - of his brutality, callousness and ruthlessness and it's only in the final scene that the worst picture of the horror he was capable of is revealed.
But to start at the beginning. Soon after moving in with Liz and her daughter Molly in Utah, we see him stopped by cops for an abduction. Liz is convinced it’s only because he looks like the actual suspect. Bundy is eventually accused and sentenced to prison for aggravated assault in Utah but goes on to escape from two jails. He's caught in Florida and put on trial for murder. During the trial, he fires his lawyer and represents himself. Throughout the arrests and trials, Liz remains by his side.