Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, And Vile focuses on the life and trials of Ted Bundy, the infamous serial killer convicted of slaughtering thirty women and suspected of ending the lives of many more. The movie, however, is unexpectedly devoid of any actual murder.
The creative choice is certainly an interesting one, as the audience is never able to fully get a glimpse of Bundy being the monster that society now knows him to be. It turns out that this decision by writer Michael Werwie was intentional, with the scribe saying:
“I was compelled by all of the mundane domestic details of his life and I thought an interesting way into a serial killer’s story would be to show no serial killing at all. I wanted to explore the love story of it all. This is more of a human side of the story. It’s about the people who had an emotional connection to Ted Bundy. This is about seduction, betrayal and it’s also about the truth. The emotional side of the story is what makes the movie different than the documentary.”
The lack of gore allows the viewers to see Bundy through the same lens as his longtime girlfriend, Elizabeth “Liz” Kloepfer. This portrayal of the homicidal criminal, although controversial, puts those watching in Kloepfer’s shoes and thus makes it easier to understand why she stuck with him for as long as she did.
The film also invites more of a conversation as to why Bundy was able to skate by for so long. The flick evoked many discussions of privilege and martyrdom, as well as the media’s tendency to obsess and therefore glorify the repugnant actions of depraved individuals.
If the movie had decided to show the victims’ deaths in detail, the entire thing would be seen only as a slasher film without nuance. More importantly, it’d be disrespectful to those women whose lives were cut short by a demented madman.
Lily Collins, the actress who played Kloepfer alongside Zac Efron’s Bundy, has already said that she was visited by the spirits of the victims. While they allegedly gave their blessing to the film, it’s unlikely they would have been so welcoming if the feature existed only to shock audiences with recreations of their untimely deaths.
Whether or not this creative decision by the writer ends up working is up to the viewer. And though Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, And Vile may not show any explicit death scenes, it’s still tough to watch for those who are sensitive to such matters.