Netflix's Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile is based on the book "The Phantom Prince: My Life with Ted Bundy", which is a biography of Elizabeth Kloepfer - Ted Bundy's long-time girlfriend. As per the book, the movie unfolds from Elizabeth's point of view and since she doesn't witness any of the horrendous murders herself, neither do we. In fact, in an elaborate way, we get to experience Elizabeth's joy when she thinks she has met a too-good-to-be-true guy and later her insecurities and guilt of having have lived with an unpredictable cold-blooded murderer. Director Joe Berlinger creates a masterpiece, without an iota of violence he keeps alive the cruelty and severity of the crimes while highlighting the adorable human attributes of the killer which attracted tens of women to him.
When Liz meets a charming Ted at a bar, she hesitates to tell him that she's a single mother and is stuck with a monotonous job, she hopes he won't leave when he finds out the truth... But little does Liz know that she has befriended a predator who lures women and then brutally kills them. As time passes Liz and Ted grow closer and fond of each other, but numerous headlines about missing women in the local newspapers and a sketch of a potential suspect catches Liz's attention. Things get tough when there is an anonymous tip to the cops about Ted and the police arrest him for the murders of several women. Liz takes up alcoholism to salvage her drooping trust on Ted, who continuously tell everyone that he is innocent and he has been framed. The movie further goes around unwrapping mysteries that continue to grip the audience till the end.
Wisely enough the movie does not have any backstory to Ted, completely avoiding any opportunity of justification to the crimes Ted Bundy committed or glorifying him in any way. Zac Efron is spectacular as Bundy and also arguably looks like him in the scenes with the beard. High School Musical to Extremely Wicked... marks a huge leap both in terms of his performance and growth as an actor. He pulls off the dark good looks, charm and polite mannerisms of Ted Bundy with ease. Lily Collins as Liz (Elizabeth) and Jim Parsons as Larry Simpson (lawyer against Ted) are impressive as well.
Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile is a well-made movie with some noteworthy performances, pragmatic cinematography and a deeply researched plot that tells a terrifying story about America's most notorious serial killer.