Netflix has released a trailer for Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile that confirms the film's release date. The streaming service has enjoyed a great deal of success with its true crime documentary series in the past, with Making a Murderer being the most famous example. More recently, the streamer premiered Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes, a 4-part series composed of archival footage of the serial killer Ted Bundy, as well as interviews with his surviving victims and loved ones. And if all that wasn't enough, Netflix also picked up the Bundy movie Extremely Wicked, following its world premiere at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival.
Extremely Wicked stars Zac Efron as Bundy and is told from the perspective of his longtime girlfriend, Liz Kendall (Lily Collins), as she struggles to accept the truth about his murder spree, in the wake of his capture by the authorities. The docudrama was actually directed by Conversations with a Killer creator Joe Berlinger, and features a cast of name actors like Kaya Scodelario (The Maze Runner), Haley Joel Osment (The Sixth Sense), Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory), and John Malkovich (Bird Box). Netflix isn't wasting any time getting the film's marketing up and running either, ahead of its premiere date on the streaming service.
An official trailer for Extremely Wicked has been released online, as you can see in the space below. The promo confirms the film will become available for streaming Friday, May 31 on Netflix.
As this preview illustrates, Extremely Wicked focuses less on re-enacting Bundy's crimes and more on his home life with Liz, as well as his interactions with his future victims. In an interview with IndieWire, Berlinger explained his reasoning for approaching Bundy's crimes in this way:
“While there have been many serial killer films that detail every aspect of the depravity of violence, I wanted to focus on how this disturbed serial killer used his charming skills as a master manipulator to pull the wool over the eyes of those closest to him and to prey on dozens of victims. This is a portrait of seduction and betrayal by a psychopath, a portrait of pretending you’re one thing and having people believe you just because of how you look and act. It is a story of how the criminal justice system, the media and people very close to Ted, including the woman he was most intimate with, were manipulated by him.”
Real-life Bundy survivor Kathy Kleiner Rubin are among those who've already come out and defended Extremely Wicked's approach to portraying Ted Bundy, arguing that (like Berlinger said) showing him the way he was isn't the same as glorifying him. The film itself received mixed to positive reviews from the critics who saw it at Sundance (it's currently sitting at 64% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes after 47 reviews), with Efron being singled out for his charismatic and transformative performance as the infamous serial killer. At the same time, journalists took issue with Extremely Wicked's narrative, arguing that Michael Werwie's script hurts the movie by limiting its perspective on Bundy the way it does. All in all, it will be interesting to see how the consensus around the film evolves as more critics and people in general check it out.
Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile begins streaming Friday, May 31 on Netflix.
- Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile (2019) release date: May 03, 2019