Directed By: Joe Berlinger
Written By: Michael Werwie
Based on the book “The Phantom Prince: My Life With Ted Bundy” By: Liz Kendell
Cinematography: Brandon Trost
Editor: John Schaeffer
Cast: Zac Efron, Lily Collins, Angela Sarafyn, James Hetfield, Jeffrey Donovan, Terry Kinney, Haley Joel Osment, Kaya Scodelario, Dylan Baker, John Malkovich, Brian Geraghty, Jim Parsons, Grace Victoria Cox
A courtroom frenzy ensues and sweeps 1970s America when a young single mother meets Ted Bundy.
While this film is not as comedic or explosive as the movie TED BUNDY. This tries to be more dramatic and more shows his fiancé at the times side of the story.
The film offers Zac Efron a more dramatic role and opportunity in which to excel which he does. Though the danger in casting him is making those new to the case looking at Ted bundy as a sex Idol giving Efron a bad boy edge. It does offer allow him to open up his opportunities. He’s so convincing even he seems to believe his own lies.
This isn’t necessarily a story that need to be told again cinematically.
Unfortunately Lily J Collins role though based on a real life person is pretty one note and doesn’t offer much more than suffering. Which we learn why later in the film.
At least this film offers an opening scene where we get to know him and see his charm before the arrests. Though we hear about the crimes we never see him committing them. Which spares the audience the film becoming more explosive as a kind of greatest hits. But also doesn’t allow us to see the other side of him. The vicious side he is accused of and believed to be.
Zac Efron shows the soft and charming side with hints of darkness making him seem more like a rebel criminal or evil we never see him play that side. So never see the change and hinders sown dramatic ability.
The film plays more soft or like a Teen Beat version of the tale playing up the relationship angle over everything else a kind of twisted love story. Where the actors feel like they are playing dress up more than anything. A move that makes this feel only made for marketability of the leads and to give their fan base something to watch.
While the character lives up to the title the movie second half more seems to show the aspects of the legal cases against him and shows more the media aspects of the case and participants showing how it comes to play a role in celebrated court cases maybe even the beginning of it. Where he almost seems to be a kind of a notorious reality show celebrity.
Using his smarts and personality to win over others and any watchers. As a way to prove his innocence even though the evidence against him is pretty strong. The. Again have to consider it’s based on Liz Kendall’s book so we see the side of him she saw as he becomes like a drug she is constantly withdrawing from it an abused wife who has escaped but still has feelings for as he won’t leave her alone.
The film is pretty much by the book it never becomes exciting or Intoxicating and might teach some things if you know nothing about the cases. Unfortunately I have some knowledge so it comes off as too repetitive.
By the end we finally see the vicious side of him and the aftermath of his crimes. In an emotional confession that is a scene of triumph. As he becomes truthful which is rare for him.
This is director and Documentarian Joe Berlinger’s second feature film of course on a true story and real life subjects. Which falls into his wheelhouse. So that it feels like a more investigative journey.
As the film just plays plain more the complaint of the audience then the filmmaker.