So the highly anticipated Netflix Original Film Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile was released May 3rd on the streaming service. There has been a lot of talk about the movie, with a lot of critics saying that it romanticizes the serial killer Ted Bundy.
As an avid viewer of crime shows, documentaries, and movies, I knew I would want to watch this movie when it came out, especially since it looks at Bundy and his case through a different lens. Instead of just covering his crimes, the movie details his life and relationship with Elizabeth Kloepfer. The director, Joe Berlinger who also created the Netflix documentary about Bundy, Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes, starts the film by introducing Kloepfer and showing the beginning of her relationship with Bundy, before he's accused of any crimes.
The film follows both Kloepfer and Bundy, and shows how their lives are impacted by the case against Bundy. Kloepfer spent years in a relationship with Bundy, living with him and allowing him to help raise her young daughter. At first, she doesn't believe that Bundy committed the crimes he's accused of, but as more pile up against him, she has to cope with the fact that Bundy had been deceiving her for years.
Viewers also see numerous other women fall prey to Bundy's charms even after he's gone to trial, which seems hard for us to understand, but his good looks and charisma are said to be part of what gave him access to many young victims.
Many recent articles about the film say it felt romantic, but I didn't get that feeling at all. I don't think showing Bundy in this light is romanticizing him or his actions. I know I didn't get any romantic vibes while watching the movie. I certainly felt no remorse for him as the film delved into the horrendous crimes he committed and it certainly didn't make change my ideas of him as a killer. It did show me how people who met him thought he was charming and how some might not have wanted to believe he committed the crimes he was accused of because of how charismatic he seemed.
I think showing how normal he seemed and how endearing Bundy could be is important to emphasize that it made it easy for him to lure women. To me, showing Bundy this way allows us to see how people felt about him during the trial. In both the film and actual news footage from the trial (played during the credits), people are shown saying Bundy is too nice and there's no way they think he could defile and murder the victims as they had been.
A quote from Bundy is played during the credits of the movie, saying, "Murderers do not come out in the dark with long teeth and saliva dripping off their chin. People don't realize that there are killers among them. People they liked, loved, lived with, worked with, and admired could the next day turn out to be the most demonic people imaginable." This quote really drives home what the movie shows. It shows that a killer could be the most normal, charming person you'd ever meet; you wouldn't suspect them of such heinous acts and wouldn't want to.
And that's exactly how people felt about Ted Bundy.