There was some controversy about this film because of the portrayal of serial killer Ted Bundy, by Zac Efron, which was claimed to put the monster in too much of a positive light. After watching the film on Netflix, I do to understand that criticism.
Yes, Zac Efron played Ted Bundy with a flare. but that was very much the case for Bundy. He was a charismatic man who used his good looks and his chemistry with young females to find his victims. To be honest, that made this portrayal of Bundy all the more frightening because there are times in the film where you believe what he is saying. His protests of innocence were lies, we know that, but the performance is so likable that you can understand why Bundy was able to do what he did.
And there is no doubt that the man was a manipulative monster. You see that in the performance here, so, in my opinion, there should be no controversy here.
Zac Efron, however, deserves a ton of credit as this may be the best performance I have seen from him. In fact, I questioned the ability for Efron to play Ted Bundy, but he does a magnificent job of it. The relationship between Bundy and the woman he seemed to love, Liz (Lilly Collins) felt like the real deal despite Bundy’s use of it as a cover or a way to look normal. Liz’s journey of her belief in Ted was a perfect example of the power Bundy had over women. One wonders how Liz was able to survive all those years as Ted Bundy’s girlfriend.
The secondary cast is solid here with Jim Parsons, Haley Joel Osment, John Malkovich and Kaya Scodelario, but none of them have enough to really stand out. This is Efron’s film and he is up to the task.
True crime fans will enjoy this biopic as we get to see a side to evil that we normally do not get to see.