Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile (2019)
Having created the documentary series Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes, which was largely based on over 100 hours of footage from journalist Stephen Michaud's conversations with the imprisoned Mr. Bundy back in 1980, filmmaker Joe Berlinger (Paradise Lost) releases his second film of the year about Ted Bundy with this drama starring Zac Efron. Extremely Wicked focuses on Bundy's girlfriend Liz Kendall and is told partly from her point of view and partly from the point of view of Bundy's outward persona; the sociable, charming and seemingly kind man that people around him knew. This is an effective and clever narrative trick by Berlinger, because it underlines and expands the gap between this Bundy and the man who committed those gruesome crimes, and as such helps explain Kendall's denial and unwillingness to believe what she deep down feared to be true. For anyone not up-to-date on Bundy's crimes, the first third of this film may be confusing. Berlinger tells his story expecting an informed viewer, which may seem like a lazy approach. But once the film settles into its rhythm and Efron really gets into character (he's as persuasive as the real-life Bundy purportedly was), the film is seductive with its novel angle, detailed characterizations and – of course – a narrative that no non-fiction writer could come up with.