Movie review: Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil And Vile
Zac Efron truly embodies "if looks could kill" in this story about America's most notorious serial killer Ted Bundy.
The title of the movie comes from the famous post-sentencing remarks of US Judge Edward D. Cowart, who called the killings "extremely wicked, shockingly evil, vile and the product of a design to inflict a high degree of pain and utter indifference to human life".
The film, however, does not exactly show how vile Ted is - he savagely killed at least 30 young women over 10 years - but rather focuses on his claims of innocence and his showy displays in court.
Based on Elizabeth Kendall's memoir, the story starts with the single mother's encounter with Ted in a bar.
Liz, played by Lily Collins, ends up inviting him into her bed and life. We then see what a loving man Ted is, balancing his studies as a law student while spending time with Liz and playing father to her daughter.
So when the law catches up with Ted, we understand Liz's indignation despite evidence showing that Ted is one creepy and violent man.
Collins plays her part solidly. What lets the film down is the narrative and pacing.
But director Joe Berlinger's decision to zoom in on Efron makes this biopic watchable.
It does not take a genius to capitalise on Efron's natural assets.
No one knows this better than the actor himself, and he totally runs with it.
Behind those twinkling blue eyes is this sense of chill that Efron turns on and off effortlessly.
Like the hordes of female fans that religiously attended the court sessions, you will have no problem falling under Ted's spell as he smooth-talks his way through trials and spars with Judge Cowart (a brilliant John Malkovich).
Efron's transition from teen heartthrob to adult actor has not been smooth, but if he is rightly cast, like in this case, he soars.