The general public has always had a weird fascination with serial killers – but this film will make you wish you never had that curiosity at all.
Before watching this film, I’d already researched infamous serial killer Ted Bundy and watched the long-anticipated Netflix documentary Conversations With a Killer, so I knew quite a lot about his notorious killings beforehand. However, I left the screening feeling unnerved.
The film focuses on a period in Bundy’s life (portrayed by Zac Efron) when he met his then-girlfriend Elizabeth ‘Liz’ Kloepfer (Lily Collins) in 1969 to his death by electric chair in 1989. For most of the film we see the point of view of Liz and how this seemingly charming man almost ruined her life.
Collins plays Liz exceptionally well, bringing emotion to every inch of her performance to make the whole character so realistic. Efron delivers one of the best performances of his career – he embodies Bundy’s charm and the charisma, but also manages to turn that all on its head and become arrogant, threatening and frightening: all apparent traits of Bundy. Without such outstanding performances from all actors and actresses involved, the film would not have been as good.
Another unsettling aspect of the film was certainly the use of real-life footage. It gives the film the push it needs to become outright disturbing and truly shows how much the case rocked the world.
Although the film was a chilling portrayal of an unforgettable piece of history, it could’ve been better. I’d recommend watching the Netflix documentary first, simply due to the fact that you’ll learn more about the whole case. Undoubtedly, the film was excellent and I don’t regret watching it, but I will say that at some points there could have been more exploration – Carole Ann Boone? Give us more on that relationship between the killer and the long-lost friend who becomes infatuated with him for example.
Overall, without giving any spoilers, the film is great – I left the cinema feeling sick and saddened, especially as the film ends with a list of names of the victims Bundy preyed on. As a journalism student I love mystery and eventual resolution, so knowing he met his demise gave me a little bit of resolve. So, whilst I did expect more, I’m happy with what I got – a decent depiction of a deadly man.
By Jasmin Bodman