One of the most talked about films from the 2019 Sundance Festival just found itself an unexpected, but perfect, home. On Monday, Feb. 4, Netflix bought Zac Efron's Ted Bundy movie Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile, according to The Hollywood Reporter. A source told the publication the deal may have cost Netflix $9 million, but given the buzz surrounding the movie, the streamer no doubt believes that's a small price to pay for the controversial film.
Netflix reportedly won out in a bidding war that also involved Lionsgate and STX. Part of the movie's appeal likely comes from the much talked about performance by former teen heartthrob Efron as the infamous serial killer Bundy. While there's no news yet on when the film will be available on Netflix, THR does note that there are plans for the company to give the film a theatrical release in fall 2019 — just in time for award season.
Earlier in January, Netflix released the documentary series Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes, which was directed by Joe Berlinger. Berlinger is also the director of Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile. That connection makes the movie a perfect fit for Netflix, where the documentary has already found success.
The documentary series was an in depth examination of the heinous crimes that Bundy committed. The serial killer ultimately confessed to killing 30 women, although the actual number of his victims is estimated to be much higher. He was sentenced to death in 1979, and was ultimately executed by electric chair in Florida in 1989, per Newsweek.
While some movie fans are eager to see Efron's performance for themselves, others have voiced concerns on social media that the film glorifies Bundy. The controversy was further stoked by the release of the trailer, which featured a tone that some interpreted as upbeat. Over the years the public's perception of him as a charming killer has been discussed nearly as much as his crimes. Ultimately, it seems that the movie aims to explore the insidious nature of Bundy, and how he was able to manipulate people like his longtime girlfriend Liz Kloepfer, played by Lily Collins in the film.
During an interview with Bustle's Sage Young at the Sundance Film Festival, Berlinger shared his thoughts on the idea that his film glorifies Bundy. "I think the idea of this particular story, making a movie about Bundy, equals glorification of him is a very naive and knee-jerk reaction," the director told Bustle. "Because if you actually watch the movie, the last thing we’re doing is glorifying him. He gets his due at the end, but we’re portraying the experience of how one becomes a victim to that kind of psychopathic seduction."
Now that Netflix has purchased the film it won't be long before viewers will be able to decide for themselves whether or not Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile's portrayal of Bundy is as terrifying as it should be. And, unless you just need to see Efron's performance on the big screen, you'll be able to watched this much talked about movie from your own couch, all thanks to Netflix's bidding prowess.