OPINION: Extremely wicked response

Austin Belet, Opinions Editor

One of the latest movies blowing up on social media has been the biographical crime thriller Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile. For those who may be unaware, this movie is the recapturing of the Ted Bundy story where the sexpot Zac Efron portrays the notorious murderer.

There has been some outcry on the interwebs about this new movie over how it has portrayed Bundy and has turned him into a person to be venerated rather than feared. I personally also fell into this leg of irritation with the movie. I felt that to be making movies about Bundy would be insensitive towards the families who were affected by Bundy (many of whom are still around). So let’s chat.

This view made a lot of sense to me at first. I am not the biggest fan of true crime myself and seeing people who seemingly worship the likes of Bundy, Dahmer, and Manson has always made me squirm. It has never made sense to me that someone could put aside the vile nature of the crimes that these men had committed and have their face on a christmas tree.

Knowing this, it stands to reason that having Efron playing the role would likewise bear my disdain, however I have to deference to the performance.

Part of what made the movie so fascinating is how enchanting the portrayal of Bundy was. The fact that you wanted to like him.

What people forget is that part of what made Bundy so compelling was that he was charismatic and handsome, that’s why he would go on to pack the Miami-Dade courtroom. Efron was able to excellently execute the kind of posturing Bundy took on during his sentencing. Bundy’s personality and attractiveness was integral to his story. Had he not been a handsome and charming man, he may not have gotten away with what he had nor would he have had the sensationalist coverage around his trial.

Ultimately, while I believe the movie is solidly okay, the use of Zac Efron to play Ted Bundy worked exactly as it was intended to. It remains to be that a killer who made his legacy off of being handsome and charming being portrayed (tastefully) on screen by an actor who is handsome and charming makes sense.


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