July 27, 2009

Psychotic Review: "Bundy: A Legacy of Evil"

Thank God for the Blockbuster Netflix-like program because if I had paid nearly $5 to rent this piece of junk, I would have been angry.

I had selected it for two reasons. One, because I have read nearly every piece of written work on the infamous serial killer Ted Bundy. I hesitate to say he's my "favorite" serial killer but his story fascinates me, mainly because of his abnormal psychological makeup and because I don't think the FBI is anywhere close to his actual victim count. Two, because Corin Nemec (who stars as Bundy) was hilariously funny as Parker Lewis in the late 80s/very early 90s sitcom "Parker Lewis Can't Lose" and heartbreakingly real as Steven Stayner in "I Know My First Name is Steven". I couldn't imagine Mr. Nemec as Ted Bundy but I figured since he absolutely nailed the Steven Stayner role - - in a movie that still makes me cry, after having seen it at least half a dozen times - - he shouldn't have any problem playing the serial killer.

Was I ever wrong.

There are so many problems with this 2008 release - - actually, was it ever released in theaters? Because I don't remember it. Certainly, it would be hard to accurately outline Ted Bundy's life within the confines of a standard 2 hour movie so compilations have to be made. I expect that. But writer/director Michael Feifer not only changed the circumstances of some of Bundy's abductions, but the time frame. Inexcusable! He also left out Bundy's real life longtime girlfriend, who actually called a crime hotline to report him when she became suspicious. As she was with Bundy for more than 6 years and wanted to marry him at the time, it seems a poor choice to not even mention her. Worse, he devoted so much time to Bundy's college romance of co-ed Stephanie, complete with a nauseating montage of "in love" scenes, set to mushy, romantic music, that might have been better served exploring more of Bundy's dark side.

The writing feels uneven, leaving the movie choppy. Much, much worse is the acting and apparent lack of direction.

This was obviously a low budget film and I don't expect to have known actors playing bit parts of victims, family members or witnesses. However, the acting is so atrocious it makes it hard to watch the movie. Mr. Feifer seemed to do little in the way of encouraging his bit actors to emote more and Mr. Nemec to emote less.

For me, the worst part of the movie was Mr. Nemec. He overacted, he snarled, he howled at the moon and he chewed scenery up so viciously that Bette Davis, in her worst overacted performance, would have been left feeling faint. I noticed during the credits that Mr. Nemec was a producer and that is the only explanation I have as to why Mr. Feifer did not reel him in. He is so over the top, so overblown with his glaring, his sneers, his growling and what I assume was to be shown as his sociopathic behavior that his characterization of Bundy quickly became camp. And not enjoyable camp, but painful to watch camp. Particularly since I know that Corin Nemec has talent. Sadly, it's just not evidenced in this monstrosity.

If you're interested in Bundy's criminal life, check out the miniseries "The Deliberate Stranger" with Mark Harmon. Although Harmon plays Bundy as a suave ladies man (far from the truth), the overall concept is much closer to the reality than this offering, or the 2001 "Ted Bundy", where the film isn't great, although Michael Reilly Burke's portrayal of Bundy grasps the real degenerate Bundy was.

My grade: F

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