Full Dis-Chlo-sure: The new Ted Bundy film was weird
A review of the movie about America’s most notorious serial killer
Chloe Fellwock is a freshman advertising major and writes “Full Dis-Chlo-sure" for the Daily News. Her views do not necessarily agree with those of the newspaper. Write to Chloe at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Editor’s Note: The following column is a satirical piece on a movie that has yet to be released to the public.
I’ve been hearing a lot recently about this new Ted Bundy movie starring Zac Efron, “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile,” along with the controversy over his portrayal and the surging interest in the Bundy case following Netflix’s release of “The Ted Bundy Tapes.” As someone who grew up on true crime and a lifelong fan of Zefron, I was ecstatic when I heard about the film. Despite debates on the internet, I had full faith in Zefron’s ability to portray such an infamous person. One only had to see him in iconic roles such as Daniel Austin on “NCIS” to understand the caliber of actor we have on our hands.
Now, the film hasn’t been made available to the general public yet. The Sundance Film Festival is such an exclusive event, so imagine my surprise when Zefron himself came to my dorm and personally invited me to attend the viewing of his new movie. I grabbed the newest of my many elaborate evening gowns and fled out the door. Off we went in the white, windowless van he had parked out back. I sat in the back all the way to the festival, which was held in an elaborate theater disguised as an abandoned Goodwill.
It was the weekend of a lifetime and the whole sequence of events would be far too long and lavish for me to describe here. Basically, it was great, as was the film. Here’s my take:
First, I felt that the way it’s been framed on Twitter was misleading. From what I had heard, it focused on his life as an adult. However, the version I found online was all about his life as a young adult, specifically around high school. Even so, I felt it excellently portrayed the makings of this monster.
The movie was incredibly well-researched. The writers and producers dove so deep into Bundy’s early personal life that they unearthed details of his social interactions that I’ve never even heard of. For example, he tried to be an athlete in high school, he played basketball.
Many know this. But did you know that he was so good that he could do whatever he wanted in practice and still win every game? For example, in one dramatic reenactment, he stalled the entire team’s practice to have an identity crisis while saying “Wait a minute, it's not the time or place. Wait a minute, get my head in the game.” In addition, he was apparently called “Troy” in high school. Perhaps this was one of the straws that eventually broke the camel’s back and resulted in 30 deaths.
More remarkable is the fact that this movie unearthed an entire case of Bundy stalking a young woman that the documentaries don’t even talk about. According to this film, after Bundy had a brief encounter with a woman named Gabriella Montez at a karaoke night, he invaded her life consistently for at least a year. His motives for doing so were unclear, but what we know for sure is that this monster would do whatever it took to be near her, even if it meant stalking.
Following the encounter, Bundy forced himself into Montez’s school theatre program against the will of everyone involved. To worsen matters, he wanted to force Gabriella onstage to play the role of his love interest, despite her frequent indications that she was too shy to sing in front of others.
“C’mon, Gabriella,” he growls at her, “It’ll be just like kindergarten.” Montez ceded to his wishes in order to preserve her life.
But the nightmare continued behind the scenes. If he wasn’t at school, he was showing up uninvited at Montez’s house. Bundy also started taking the same classes as her, getting her into trouble so they could have detention together, even convincing an innocent pianist to corral the two together for private rehearsals during study hall.
Many tried to stop him. Montez’s friends on the Scholastic Decathlon team exposed Montez to the raw, unfiltered anger he expresses when she’s not around. They did everything they could to keep them apart. Even Bundy’s teammates recognized his psychotic behavior and promptly made their own attempts at breaking his ties with Montez. But these rescue missions were in vain.
Eventually, Bundy manipulated the Decathlon team and the basketball team into cutting the power in the gym and causing a dangerous chemical reaction, ensuring that he and Montez could sing together. Tears and devastation in his wake, Bundy obstructed both the big basketball game and the Scholastic Decathlon, herding terrified people into an auditorium. Why? So that they could listen to him sing with a petrified Ms. Montez.
Now, the one issue I take with it is the costuming. Bundy was an active serial killer in the 1970s, but everyone in this movie is dressed like they were in the early 2000s. Perhaps this was an artistic choice. But I feel that it was in bad taste given the historical nature of the narrative.
All in all, though, I was thoroughly fascinated. Never in all my years of true crime consumption have I seen such a horrific story go untold for such a long time. I have heard rumors that this film will be the first part of a trilogy, so I’ll be sure to keep my eyes peeled for the next installments. To say that I’m looking forward to them would be a vast understatement.
Rumor has it that the second film features Bundy’s psychotic break in the middle of a golf course after ruining Montez’s summer.