Friday, among other things, brought us the Netflix arrival of the Sundance-premiered Ted Bundy biopic Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile. Based on a memoir by the real-life Bundy's former longtime girlfriend Elizabeth Kloepfer, the critically embraced drama stars recent The Beach Bum participator Zac Efron as the eventually convicted (and now deceased) serial killer.
Kloepfer, meanwhile, is portrayed by Okja and Tolkien star Lily Collins. During her preparation for her role, as she revealed in a Guardian interview ahead of the Netflix drop, Collins claims she received messages from some of Bundy's victims, the total number of which remains unknown to this day.
Collins said the holiday prep period included a nightly ritual of waking up suddenly at 3:05 a.m. At first, Collins said, the wake-ups were just wake-ups. Then, things are alleged to have progressed into full-blown ghost territory.
"I would go downstairs and have a cup of tea, trying to figure out why I had woken up again," she told the Guardian. Eventually, struggle-based "images" are said to have started popping up at night.
"I started being woken up by flashes of images, like the aftermath of a struggle . . . I discovered that 3 a.m. is the time when the veil between the realms is the thinnest and one can be visited," said Collins, who did some online research on her experiences. "I didn't feel scared—I felt supported. I felt like people were saying: 'We're here listening. We're here to support. Thank you for telling the story.'"
Reviews dating back to the Sundance premiere of the film have been positive, with critics praising Collins' and Efron's performances, as well as the creative decisions of director Joe Berlinger. Sheila O'Malley, writing for RogerEbert.com, noted the first trailer's pushback from some who considered the film a glorification of Bundy's marathon of violence.
"Women showed up in court for his trial giggling like they were at a Stones concert," O'Malley recalled of the real-life Bundy, who was executed in 1989. "People were horrified. Here it all was, playing out again in 2019."