Zac Efron’s performance as Ted Bundy has been applauded by critics who described it as ‘career-changing’, ‘transformative’ and the ‘best performance of his career’.
Efron stars as serial killer Bundy in Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile, an upcoming feature film which tells the story of the notorious murderer from the perspective of his girlfriend Elizabeth Kloepfer, played by Lily Collins, who struggled to believe her partner was capable of committing such unthinkable crimes.
Bundy confessed to 30 homicides before he was executed by electric chair in January 1989, but the true number of victims is unknown and feared to be higher.
Premiering at the Sundance Film Festival last weekend, the first reviews for the upcoming film have emerged online.
While the majority of critics think overall the movie is just okay, there is overwhelming agreement Efron gives a brilliant performance.
Reviewing the film for The Guardian, Benjamin Lee said Efron’s ‘creepy and charismatic performance’ is the ‘best thing’ about ‘an otherwise pedestrian and graceless drama’.
Lee was clearly taken aback by Efron’s performance writing:
In fact, the most shocking thing about the film is Efron’s remarkably accomplished, fiercely committed performance.
As Bundy, he ruthlessly weaponises the boyish charm that’s propelled much of his career, slyly convincing us of the spell he cast, not only on Liz but the many other women who were fighting his corner, sure of his innocence.
It’s the career-changing moment he was clearly seeking and with an executive producer credit, one can understand his impassioned involvement, a juicy opportunity to break away from his pretty boy shackles and prove that he’s deserving of more dramatic work.
Not impressed by the rest of Extremely Wicked, Lee added the film struggled to ‘justify its existence’ beyond Efron’s performance.
Chris Evangelista agreed with Lee giving the film seven out of 10 in his review for Slash Film.
While he took issue with how the film moved away from Elizabeth’s point of view, Evangelista praised Efron’s performance writing:
It’s a transformative performance – Efron takes on Bundy’s mannerisms perfectly, to the point where it no longer feels like we’re watching Efron – we’re watching Bundy resurrected from the grave. Efron has been doing good work in so-so films for a while now, but here, he gives the best performance of his career.
Efron has reassured audiences the film doesn’t ‘glorify’ the killer telling IndieWire:
It’s very interesting. I think the movie itself is really deep.It doesn’t really glorify Ted Bundy. He wasn’t a person to be glorified.
It simply tells a story and sort of how the world was able to be charmed over by this guy who was notoriously evil and the vexing position that so many people were put in, the world was put in. It was fun to go and experiment in that realm of reality.
I personally can’t wait to see the performance critics are praising left, right and centre!
Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile is coming soon to UK cinemas and Sky Cinema.
If you have a story you want to tell, send it to [email protected]
Emily Murray is a journalist at UNILAD. She graduated from the University of Leeds with a BA in English Literature and History before studying for a Masters in Journalism at the University of Salford. Emily has previously worked for the BBC, ITV and Trinity Mirror. When Emily isn’t writing about topics including mental health and entertainment, you can find her at the cinema which is her second home.