MOVIE REVIEW: Efron excels beyond expectation as Ted Bundy
Last year, the internet temporarily lost yet another set of marbles when news dropped that Zac Efron would be starring in a movie as Ted Bundy, one of the biggest serial killers in American history.
Now that movie, Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile, is finally here.
Let the record show that the fuss made by those thrown by this curveball casting was completely pointless.
Efron excels beyond all expectations as Bundy, a heinous multiple murderer who confessed on death row to ending the lives of more than 30 women throughout the 1970s.
By all reports, Bundy was well aware of both his suave good looks and superior intellect, and used them to completely cover his terrifying tracks for a bewilderingly long time.
Efron subtly captures the warm charm and chilling cunning of the man with a precision that is quite disarming.
The movie, based on a long-forgotten memoir penned by Bundy's long-term girlfriend Liz Kendall (well played by Lily Collins), avoids any gruesome depiction of Bundy's crimes.
Instead, it uses Efron's performance to explore how a seemingly everyday young man was able to obscure the view of a once-in-a-lifetime monster inside him.
Though Kendall was completely oblivious to Bundy's gruesome activities during their time together - many of his killings took place several states away from the home they shared - her perspective is a valid one.
From the moment they met in a Seattle bar in 1969, Liz was virtually powerless to resist when Ted directed the unmistakeable intensity of his attentions towards her.
While her gut instincts about her boyfriend - and later, fiancee - would often let her know something was amiss, a phone call, kind word or well-detailed excuse from Ted would be enough to smother all doubt on the spot.
Another aspect of this oft-told tale presented in a new light by Extremely Wicked is how effortlessly Bundy was able to navigate the legal system once he was captured by authorities.
A former law student who elected to represent himself, Bundy strutted the courtroom floor with a confidence and emphatic cross-examination technique that, once again, diverted attention from clear evidence of his terrible deeds.
Extremely Wicked... is now showing exclusively on Netflix.
EXTREMELY WICKED, SHOCKINGLY EVIL AND VILE (MA15+)
Rating: Three and a half stars (3.5 out of 5)
Director: Joe Berlinger (Metallica: Some Kind of Monster)
Starring: Zac Efron, Lily Collins, Haley Joel Osment, Kaya Scodelario, John Malkovich.
You can't judge a butcher by his cover