Netflix Stays In The Ted Bundy Business, Buys Zac Efron's 'Extremely Wicked' Bundy Biopic

Netflix recently debuted Joe Berlinger's documentary series Conversations with A Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes, and they plan on staying in both the Berlinger and the Bundy business. The streaming service has scooped up the rights to Berlinger's Bundy movie Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile, starring Zac Efron as the notorious serial killer. The movie received mixed reactions when it debuted at Sundance last month, but Netflix is hoping for an awards season theatrical run nonetheless. More on the Extremely Wicked Netflix release below.

 Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile

Netflix didn't make many big purchases during this year's Sundance Film Festival, but now that the fest is over, they've decided to plunk down around $9 million for the rights to Extremely Wicked, Shocking Evil and Vile. The film hails from director Joe Berlinger, and it will be his third official project with the streaming service. They also bought his 2016 documentary Tony Robbins: I Am Not Your Guru. And of course, just last month they debuted his other Ted Bundy project, Conversations with A Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes, which plays almost like a companion piece to Extremely Wicked.

Extremely Wicked didn't exactly received a warm welcome at Sundance, but I enjoyed it – for the most part. While I had problems with the script, I was highly impressed with Zac Efron's eerie performance as Bundy. As I wrote in my review:

It's a transformative performance – Efron takes on Bundy's mannerisms perfectly, to the point where it no longer feels like we're watching Efron – we're watching Bundy resurrected from the grave. Efron has been doing good work in so-so films for a while now, but here, he gives the best performance of his career.

Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile tells Bundy's story through the eyes of his longtime girlfriend, Elizabeth Kloepfer (Lily Collins). Since the bulk of the movie is supposed to be from Elizabeth's perspective, we don't actually see Bundy committing his murders. Instead, the movie tries to explain how people close to Bundy never realized his true nature – how the charming young man was able to pull the wool over so many people's eyes.

Sending Extremely Wicked to Netflix feels like the right move. That said, the word is that Netflix is planning to hold the film's release until later in 2019, where it hopes to launch an awards season theatrical run. I sincerely doubt many people will consider this an awards calibre film – save for Efron's performance, which is indeed fantastic. If Netflix is hoping to campaign Efron for a Best Actor Oscar, they might just pull it off. But they probably shouldn't get their hopes up for anything else.