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As someone who reads a lot about famous killers, watches a lot of documentaries about serial killers, I was so excited to see this movie. Ted Bundy is one of the most famous killers for a variety of reasons; his kill count, his methods of killing, the fact he escapes from prison twice, he was the first ever court case aired on television, and the fact that he decided to become his own council during his last trial. All this you would think make for an excellent film. Well, the jury is still out on that one.
The acting and plot was well done, and in no doubt was the movie itself done extremely well. I think it is almost scary how similar to Ted Bundy, Zac Efron was able to look and how he acted in portraying Ted was brilliant. The trial seen and his capture were extremely accurate, which with all the information about Ted Bundy out there you would hope so. However, almost everything else was off.
To start the timeline was off, I understand that they needed to condense it all to fit the time frame of the film, but considering that this is based on a true event, the dates need to be correct. There are things you can skip over to still make it all work, like after he escapes and goes to live in the mountains, skip over that but you cannot play around with the dates of his arrests.
Another big part was his relationship with Elizabeth, who he did claim to love and who he did propose to. However, the relationship that the film portrayed between the two of them had the most problems. The final scene of the movie, where she visits him in prison after he was found guilty, that never happened! In fact, in real life, Bundy got a marriage license for him and Elizabeth and then dramatically ripped it up in front of her. Her drinking and guilt were true however, she was an alcoholic which is not surprising after finding out your ex is a serial killer. There is also no mention of the book Papillon anywhere in any document that Elizabeth has released. They had created this love story, with a perfect relationship, when in reality it was not anything close to that. Ted was abusive and even attempted to kill her at one point. The movie made it seem like he was a caring family man when really he was not.
What many people want to think is false, is how many women claimed how handsome he was and that they were attracted to him. This however was one of the facts that the film got right. Many people were on Ted Bundy's side as they could not believe someone so handsome and charming could do such a thing.
They had the majority of the movie done so well, but when you try to turn one of the worst serial killers in this day and age into a romantic love story that is just not right. He brutalized and killed so many women including the brutal murder and rape of a 12 year old girl, which was just causally brushed over by the away. He is a monster and should be seen as such always.
If you want the true facts about Ted Bundy, then watch Conversations with a killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes. They show who this man really is and not what may read better on film.