Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile Zac Efron movie causes uproar


Ashleigh Stemple, Staff Writer

  Joe Berlinger, director of Conversations With a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes, and his new movie, Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile, is retelling the horror story of Ted Bundy’s murder spree during the early 1970’s. Told in the point of view of his love interest and long-time girlfriend, Elizabeth Kloepfer (played by Lily Collins), it recounts how Bundy fooled many into believing that he was innocent, even though that was far from the truth. His brilliance allowed him to deceive nearly everyone, especially Elizabeth.

True crime is becoming increasingly popular amongst most generations. It was no surprise that many people were interested to hear more about the psychopathic serial killer, especially those who are not aware of all of the heinous crimes that Ted Bundy had committed.

The idea had audiences intrigued … until Berlinger decided to cast Zac Efron as Ted Bundy. People were confused, but mostly outraged. This is not Zac Efron’s usual role in movies, so people were shocked at the announcement that he would be playing such a notorious serial killer. Twitter was filled to the brim with furious tweets, accounts fearing that others would start “thirst tweeting” for Ted Bundy, who murdered and raped dozens of women.

A similar event occurred in 2017, when Marc Meyers’s movie My Friend Dahmer, which told the tale of a young Jeffrey Dahmer discovering his obsession with murder, starred Ross Lynch as Jeffrey Dahmer. Just like Zac Efron, Lynch began his acting career on Disney Channel. This is why people had similar reactions to both movies; they believe that younger audiences are going to be more attracted to these actors’ roles because of their memory of Lynch and Efron’s previous occupations on kids’ television.

Although there is an obvious disagreeance of Zac Efron’s role in Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile, there are a handful of people that don’t understand why audiences are becoming angry over something as simple as an actor scoring a role for a new movie. Amber Gulbin, a student at Forsyth Central High School, has also voiced her confusion towards audience’s reactions to these roles. After discovering this uproar of shocked and angry fans, Gulbin completely disagreed with these opinions. “[Zac Efron] is a good actor,” Gulbin said. “I don’t think there’s a real reason why he shouldn’t be playing him.”

Gulbin continued, saying that even though the movie doesn’t interest her, she would go to see it if it had despite the anger the movie and its cast has caused. She would want to form her own opinion of the film and not jump to conclusions.

Despite both movies receiving backlash, Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile takes the cake, and many are confused as to why. Ross Lynch played Jeffrey Dahmer just like how the serial killer acted in real life: strange, anti-social, and straight-faced. Zac Efron is playing Ted Bundy just like how he acted in real life as well: charming, gregarious, and friendly. If this is the truth, then why are the reactions to these movies any different?

Unlike Dahmer, Bundy played the role of the kind, innocent, and charming young man to deceive his victims as well as his accusers. He had traits of both a psychopath and a sociopath, but he kept this hidden to seem inconspicuous. Zac Efron is only playing the role he’s been asked to play. Berlinger isn’t trying to “romanticize” a serial killer, as many outraged audience members have claimed due to Efron’s seemingly flirty and charming nature in the movie’s trailer; he’s only trying to portray him in the correct way.

Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile has already aired at the Sundance Film Festival on January 26, 2019. It won’t be released to theatres and on Netflix until late 2019.