After its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year, Netflix scooped up the somewhat controversial Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile, the Ted Bundy movie starring Zac Efron as the charming and despicable serial killer. We’ve been waiting to hear when the wider public would get to see this film and now, along with a release date, the streaming service has released a new trailer for the film and it's surprisingly murder-free. Take a look:
Despite this being a serial killer movie with an R rating for “disturbing/violent content,” this latest trailer for Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile eschews all such brutality, opting not to show any of Ted Bundy’s murders. Yet that lack of onscreen violence does nothing to diminish the darkness present in this trailer. If anything, it actually gives the whole thing an underlying sense of dread that is much more potent than the previous trailer.
That is perhaps the most interesting thing about this trailer, how much it contrasts with the original Voltage Pictures trailer that arrived right before the Sundance premiere and before Netflix picked up the movie. The original trailer, which actually did show brief snippets of Ted Bundy committing crimes, had more of a light feel to it, showcasing Zac Efron’s charm and attractiveness as the serial killer. It also had a rock soundtrack that fit the way the trailer was cut, but was incongruous with the nature of the crimes.
This new trailer for Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile is a different beast entirely. Instead of focusing on Zac Efron’s Ted Bundy, this trailer puts much more emphasis on the character of Liz,played by Lily Collins. The film is told from the perspective of Ted Bundy’s girlfriend who refused to see the truth about him for years and this trailer is more in line with that as we see more of her struggle with Ted and that truth.
Additionally, this trailer establishes a much more serious tone, utilizing ominous music that befits that horrors Ted Bundy committed, even if we don’t get to glimpse them here. Zac Efron’s Ted Bundy, who has been the subject of some controversy for being attractive, has his charm toned down in this trailer and his creepiness is amplified. It’s kind of fascinating how that dichotomy of presentation is reflective of the way Ted Bundy was outwardly perceived and his true nature.
I wonder if Netflix choosing to sell the film in this way is at all a response to the criticisms that have been raised about ‘hot Ted Bundy’. It also raises the question of what this film actually is, because the trailers pitch two different tones. Such is the power of editing.
When we first heard that this movie was coming to Netflix it seemed that the streaming service was planning on a small theatrical run come awards season. Whether it will receive any awards recognition remains to be seen, but Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile will be arriving much sooner than that previous assumption would indicate. The film will arrive on Netflix and in select theaters on May 3.
While not an awards season release, that does position Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile in closer proximity to Netflix’s series, Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes, also from director Joe Berlinger. So Netflix can capitalize on that true crime interest as the one-stop shop for Ted Bundy in 2019, the 30th anniversary of his execution.
Will Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile wind up becoming one of the better serial killer movies based on true life crimes? Find out when it hits Netflix on May 3. For all the biggest movies heading to theaters this year, check out our 2019 Release Schedule.
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Nick grew up in Maryland has degrees in Film Studies and Communications. His life goal is to walk the earth, meet people and get into adventures. He’s also still looking for The Adventures of Pete and Pete season 3 on DVD if anyone has a lead.