Friday, November 22, 2013

TED BUNDY (2002)


Directed By: Matthew Bright 
Written By: Matthew Bright & Steven Johnston 
Cinematography By: Sonja Rom 
Editor: Paul Heiman 

 Cast: Michael Reilly Burke, Boti Bliss, Steffani Brass
Docu-drama based on the life of Ted Bundy, a serial killer who killed at least 19 young women during the 1970's (though some sources say as many as 30 to 35 were murdered). Set from his college student years, to his first victims, his capture, escape from prison (twice), his final killing spree to his trial, conviction and execution

This film started out as part of a series of low budget films centered around notorious serial killers. Though this one sets itself apart by having a dark comedic vibe to the film that kind of makes the horrible things you see on screen partly humorous so that you are disgusted and asked to laugh, though you feel uneasy with the mood as it makes you feel guilty for laughing and finding any comfort in The film and the leads acts.

This is certainly a polarizing film.

Rob Lowe, Peter Saarsgard, and Kiefer Sutherland were each offered the role of Ted Bundy. All of the actors refused due to the nature of the character.

The film tries to keep a measured tone of dark comedy, chills and horrific violence. All the while being deeply disturbing, disgusting and somewhat played for laughs at times.

Photographs of the real Ted Bundy are featured in both the opening and closing credits of the film.

Though it seems that the filmmakers also don't want you to forget the horror of these crimes and that they really happened.

Director Matthew Bright has always made campy, dark, twisted films with the same outlook at the world. Highlighting subcultures that are rarely explored or more made to be stereotypical in mainstream films. He tries to bring out the human side while also being satirical. With a certain glorifying to these subcultures he usually has an inspired take on things that constantly feels in bad taste and in consideration of the odd. That at times feels more like he wants to pick material that is shocking and taboo to make films about. He courts controversy to a degree.

The names of the victims in the cast of characters are fictional and not the names of the actual victims of Ted Bundy.

I didn't mind this film when I first saw it, until I worked at virgin megastore with someone who loved this film. He actually showed it in the break room applauding and proud of the scenes. That sent many women out of the room with discomfort. This gentleman also later wanted me to participate in a adult feature that involved a gang bang. I declined. That truly disturbed me that someone could see this film as something positive.

I am not passing judgment on those who enjoy the film. For me though it puts this film in a certain regard and watching it definitely inspires a reaction that makes you feel. Not necessarily leaving you in a good place.

I applaud Mr. Bright's vision just not necessarily the subject matter. This film truly tested my boundaries. Not a simple bio film.

It is regularly violent as you Would expect, but it feels just not physically but psychologically the same way. The film is mainly through his own eyes. So it just is wrong as you sit through the film.

His last victim scene is the one that truly tests your patience and morals.

Anytime the film looks to be sensationalized it becomes even more uncomfortable and disgusting.

There is some sense of justice shown toward the end as we see how demeaning and torturous he is treated before going to the electric chair and we see how much of a deprave coward he is as he begs for the mercy he never showed his victims.

Though the film Makes clear his charm that disarmed many of his victims. That even after he was caught he achieved enough fame to get groupies and unsupervised conjugal visits and had even convinced them he was innocent.

Michael Reilly Burke plays the Role like he is a used car salesman or failed game show host with the wardrobe and actions. That at times make the scenes feel like they were taken from a failed sitcom. Though he plays the role with charm while showcasing the demons underneath once he turns nasty. Truly showing a performance of personality. Then showing a man who really was playing an act.

This film is definitely not for the squeamish. I believe it attempts to be subversive.

I see the film as a glorified which it wasn't supposed to be. The presentation might have been wrong for this type of gruesome story. I mean this film felt, brutal as it demystifies him as some don Juan who seduced victims. He used cheap ploys and his innocent looks to rape. Bludgeon and murder young women with no rhyme or reason. While the film has Tone and Stylistic innovations, Unlike a film such as AMERICAN PSYCHO which has the room to play around and be a social satire, it can do so as it isn’t based on anything true, Where as most of this film is based on facts of the case and just plays around with them or highlights a few of the instances to serve it’s overall purpose and story.

Even in the end his death left many questions.

The ending feels misguided like it is there for shock value and a satirizing of a message with a spoof that comes off as condescending.

 Grade: C+

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