A superficially straightforward account of the life and crimes of serial rapist-murderer Theodore Robert Bundy (produced by the team behind the underrated ED GEIN), whose sly undercurrent of black comedy may discomfit viewers with vivid memories of the real-life killer's brutal reign of terror. Bundy's rampage began in 1974 and ended in 1977, stretching from Washington State to Utah, via Colorado, Oregon and Idaho. It culminated in a frenzy of violence that left two Florida State University Chi Omega sorority sisters dead and two others grieviously injured; he attacked a fifth woman that same night and killed his last victim a 12-year-old girl shortly after. Bundy was captured by Florida police, tried and convicted in 1980 and executed nine years later. He killed at least 28 women and brutalized many more. Director and co-writer Matthew Bright refrains from glamorizing or fetishizing Bundy and his crimes, and star Michael Reilly Burke's performance is dead on. Bright's film opens with a montage of snapshots of the real Bundy as a child, then dives into the reign of terror. The facade of Bundy's promising life is firmly in place: He has a nice apartment in Seattle, goes to school, works at a crisis hotline and dates pretty divorcée Lee (Boti Ann Bliss), whose little daughter adores him. But he has another, darker life that involves shoplifting, stalking pretty girls and peeping into their windows under cover of darkness. Bundy's creepy behavior soon escalates to the criminal, rape, assault and finally murder. TV veteran Burke doesn't really look like Bundy, but he's the right blandly attractive type; the feral brilliance of his performance lies in the way he evokes the subtle wrongness beneath the facade that gripped the public imagination. People saw a handsome, smiling, young Republican law student and wondered how he could be a sadistic killer. Burke captures the too-eager greeting, the miscalculated glibness, the body language that doesn't quite match the confident, worldly intent. Bundy charmed dozens of women into the fatal belief that they could trust him, but dozens of others picked up on something and backed away, refusing to help the apparently personable stranger with the cast on his arm. Bright, who reworked co-writer Stephen Johnston's screenplay, changed all the names except Bundy's so he could "make up stuff," but the irony is how close to the facts at least to the degree they're known he stays.
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- Released: 2002
- Rating: R
- Review: A superficially straightforward account of the life and crimes of serial rapist-murderer Theodore Robert Bundy (produced by the team behind the underrated ED GEIN), whose sly undercurrent of black comedy may discomfit viewers with vivid memories of the rea… (more)