Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil & Vile - This Serial Killer Movie Does Not Rock
Dir Joe Berlinger
Starring Zac Efron, Lily Collins, Kaya Scodelario, Haley Joel Osment, John Malkovich, Jim Parsons
The simple thing here is – should be more wicked, more evil, and definitely more vile.
But director Berlinger, also the man behind the other recent Bundy/Netflix team-up, the doc The Ted Bundy Tapes, is not setting out to make that kind of serial killer movie. He shoots for a different perspective to this over-played genre, but never really seems sure what he is aiming for.
Thus we get a movie – adapted from the book by Bundy’s former partner Liz Kendall (played here by Collins) – that almost wants to view this notorious set of brutal killings from the point of view of someone seduced by Bundy’s very obvious charm – something that is well matched by Efron’s almost limitless charisma.
Berlinger also seems to want to play around with the whole notion of “is he/or isn’t he?” when it comes to the trial scenes. Which would be an interesting approach - if we didn’t know that he was! No big reveals here – it’s in the title and the name of the lead character.
So what remains is a decidedly mixed bag, and an unsatisfying one. A historical document – that lacks the detail of history (guess you can watch his doc for that.) A female take on the experience of life with a serial killer – despite the fact that Collins’ Kendall spends more time away from Bundy than with him. A court case in which both Sheldon and John Malkovich show up to chew scenery! And some sort of commentary on the nature of celebrity and its ability to deflect the truth – no matter how blatant and horrendous the truth may be.
Uneven at best. A misjudged failure in truth.