Overdrawn melodrama: Uses cliche tropes to retell the same story

Riley Garand, Staff Writer

Netflix’s original movie, “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile,” is about the notorious American serial killer, Ted Bundy (Zac Efron), is extremely boring, shockingly long and sad, yet I surprisingly don’t hate it.

For those who don’t know who Ted Bundy was, here are the basics. Bundy was a well dressed, handsome, middle aged man. Between 1974 and 1978 Bundy killed and sexually assaulted dozens of young woman across the U.S. After being put on death row, he confessed to 28 murders, but hundreds more were suspected up until his execution in 1989 and into today.

“Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile” takes the Ted Bundy story and tells it through the perspective of Elizabeth Kloepfer (Lily Collins), Bundy’s longtime girlfriend. The movie can be described as a scripted drama because despite  the true aspects of the movie, some aspects of it are overdramatized. It takes place from the 1960’s through the 1980’s, giving a timeline of Bundy’s killings and how he maintained his innocence up to his ultimate confession of the crimes as he faced execution. Viewers see how Kloepfer deals with the events, trials and scrutiny surrounding Bundy.

Oscar-nominated director, Joe Berlinger’s film is a depressing drama and proves that the actors can do everything right just to lose all of their energy with a boring perspective and boring writing. It had many opportunities with an interesting (and true!) storyline to work with. I would have liked a movie with either Bundy’s perspective rather than Kloephers or the perspective of Bundy’s victims and or survivors.

Shining light on what Bundy’s girlfriend saw in him was a good idea but was executed poorly. Many of the events they show in the movie were ones that have been told time and time again in other adaptations of the story. It just wasn’t interesting enough seeing a sad Kloepfer crying, smoking and drinking the whole time wondering if Bundy committed the crimes. This was a mistake that killed the movie for me. If you’re looking for what it’s like to date a monster, this movie has it. Trust me, it’s not what you expect.  

Efron plays such a good Ted Bundy, it’s unsettling. Forget everything you knew about the range of this former Disney star. Efron’s “High School Musical” may be a more entertaining movie, but he truly does take Bundy and make him his own despite the terrible angle the movie takes. Although viewers may get bored as the movie goes on and on and on again, the actors save it.

From the creepy smile, charming persona and intimidating attitude, Efron knocks Bundy out of the park. Efron’s not the only standout actor in the movie. Although she mostly cries and smokes the whole time, Lily Collins also gives depth to Bundy’s girlfriend Kloepfer, even if it wasn’t that necessary. These two make the movie worth the watch.

Although taking a different jab at the Ted Bundy story is smart, the level of boring in this film takes no prisoners. If you want to watch something interesting I recommend watching the “Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes,” or “The People V. OJ Simpson.” At least these true stories are told well.