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Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile came out a few months after Netflix unveiled the Ted Bundy Tapes—a collection of episodes retelling of the life, murders, and the interesting legal situation of the notorious serial killer. However, these two Netflix releases could not have told more different stories. While the Ted Bundy tapes are very directly from his point of view, going so far as to include recording of his interview while at jail, Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile is through the eyes of his wife, Elizabeth “Liz” Kloepfer.
Before the movie’s release, many were worried that with an attractive actor such as Zac Efron, the life of Ted Bundy and his horrible actions would be severely overglamourized. By making the movie from the perspective of the wife, the movie automatically is allowed to glamorize his life because that is exactly the point the directors wanted to get across— she saw him as a perfect husband, completely incapable of committing these atrocities.
The movie is simply genius. If you are looking for gory details about the murders, then look to the Ted Bundy Tapes. But if you are interested in an in depth look into the flaws of the American judicial system, the psychology of love, and the betrayal of that same love, then this movie is for you.
Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile is unique in the fact that it is a love story about a serial killer. The movie shows that Bundy and Kloepfer’s beginning was truly the dream: the two meet in a bar, fall madly in love, raise her daughter, and become a happy, nuclear American family. All while Bundy kidnapped, raped, and murdered woman after woman.
When Kloepfer finally comes to terms and confronts Bundy about the crimes, it is even more emotional for the viewer than if the movie were not from her perspective. Seeing this play out from her eyes, viewers also fall in love with the Ted Bundy she did. Finally realizing the severity of what he did is heart wrenching, as this is the man she had created a life with, the man she had relied on to help raise her daughter.
However, halfway through the movie, the perspective switches, as Kloepfer was not present for the trials. The National Public Radio described it as though Bundy “stops being Liz’s boyfriend and becomes America’s.” The trials show how manipulative Bundy was. Because of his ability to sweet-talk, Bundy developed a large following, even getting one woman, Carole Ann Boone, to marry him on the stand during his trial.
Evidently, perspective is integral to the overall flow of this movie—not only in terms of its characters, but of the camera angle as well. During a scene when Kloepfer confronts Bundy, the shot goes from her anger to his ability to calm her nerves and gaslight her concerns. Then in a twisted way, shows them embracing, him with a very slight look of deception, and her with a look on her face that can only be described as forcing herself to believe what she was just told.All in all, Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile’s point of view makes it a fantastic watch, and ultimately shows the intricacies and weight every story holds.