Review By Ray Atchley (Texas)
Ted Bundy was an American serial killer, who murdered at least 30 people in the 1970s. This movie (aptly named, if not a mouth full) tells us the story of Bundy through the perspective of his girlfriend Lilly Collins.
The casting was done well. It’s easy to get caught up in the past roles of Zack Efron, be it a High School basketball player who breaks out in song every other scene, or some Frat boy fighting over a house. However, I think Efron pulls this role off very well if you take it by its own merit and keep his other roles on the back burner, not influencing your thought. Efron would be less creepy and disturbing in this role, if we didn’t already know who Ted Bundy was, and about the Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile things that he did during that time period. That may seem like a negative to some, but it’s really a positive.
Ted Bundy was well liked and charismatic. Many people were ‘sure’ of his innocence, which is touched on in this film. He was not viewed as the evil person that we know he was today, so it is important that the film portrays him the way he was viewed at the time, especially since the film is through the perspective of someone who loved him. Haley Joel Osment’s character on the other hand, is portrayed in a little too negative of a light. He’s given that typical ‘jealous new love interest, doesn’t want girl to give her boyfriend a chance’ role, and he almost feels like a bad guy at times. Bundy isn’t innocent, he did the things that he’s on trial for. Jerry (Osment) is the good guy, and that should have been portrayed much better. It’s easy to say that that’s the way he was viewed by Lilly but until the end of the film, it isn’t.
The pacing is a little slow at times. It does start to drag a little near the middle of the film. Which would be a lot more forgivable in a longer film, but at less than 2 hours long, which is just long enough for it to be considered a longer film, and short enough to where drag isn’t as excusable, there definitely should of been more cuts made to bring this film closer to the hour and a half mark; however, the problem definitely isn’t as bad as it could of been, and many great films have been guilty of it as well.
The story overall, is well written and does the job. The whole idea of showing us the view of the trials through the perspective of his love interest is an important one. Not because us as an audience is supposed to believe that he could be innocent; we know who Bundy was. We know what he did. The perspective is important, because it makes it clear how hard it can be to spot a potential killer, and how hard it can be to accept it when someone you love, turns out to not be who you thought they were. Regardless of the evidence stacked against them. You don’t even need to suspend disbelief, because it’s not about what you believe, it’s about what they believed.
This isn’t a movie showcasing the gory murders of a serial killer. This isn’t a movie glorifying acts of an evil man. This isn’t even really a movie about the investigations leading up to the capture of Ted Bundy. What separates this movie from other true crime films is that it’s a movie about deception, and how not everyone is who they say they are. Regardless if they ‘don’t seem the type’ or not.