“T as in Troy?”

“No Gabriella, T as in Ted Bundy.”

The quote from the multi-level meme we’ve been eating up for days now was probably sourced by Netflix itself to draw a buzz surrounding the new Ted Bundy movie that was impossible to get into at Sundance. The news hit that Zac Efron would be starring as the alluring and prolific serial killer at Cannes in 2017. Production on the film started in 2018 after Lily Collins and Jon Malkovitch were cast alongside Efron in the drama. Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile (could they not come up with one more superlative?) premiered at Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah on January 26.

A Pure Evil Character

Audiences have wondered how the film would be received given that the sexualization of a monster would be controversial no matter what. Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile received mixed criticisms during its run at the film festival. Some worried that the sexualization of the killer would be an inappropriate story to tell given that he had so many victims. In the wake of the film some victims even spoke out, such as in this Cosmopolitan piece, about how the film accurately portrays Ted Bundy for his charming mystique.

When Ted Bundy was executed via electric chair in Florida in 1989 he was still receiving love letters from devout admirers. His charm and allure was, in part, what made his crimes so heinous. Bundy is confirmed to have murdered over 30 young women throughout the United States during the mid-to-late 1970’s. His crimes began when he lived in the Pacific Northwest and moved westward as he did. They went on until he was finally imprisoned in Florida and sentenced to death.

Netflix at Sundance

Netflix recently aired a short docu-series about the serial killer titled Conversations With A Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes. In the series, exclusive interviews with Ted Bundy and his victims are pieced together to tell his story. This comes as no surprise to hear that Netflix ended up purchasing Extremely Wicked this week. It was one of the longer distribution negotiations to come out of Sundance. Netflix purchased the rights to the film for around $9 million—a pretty low number considering it was the biggest film at the festival. Films like Brittany Runs A Marathon and Late Night were purchased for eight figures.

It may seem as if Netflix’s presence at Sundance Film Festival seems a bit—um, wide. It seems more obvious when you consider the fact that Netflix is about to lose a massive part of its demographic. The streaming platform made it clear that it would be investing more in its Originals. Films and shows such as Bird Box and Stranger Things are just a few of its steps in this direction.

Netflix hasn’t yet announced when it will release Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile. The streaming platform released another Sundance hit, Velvet Buzzsaw, last weekend.