3 out of 5 starsaka: Ted Bundy
R E V I E W   B Y   R I C H   C L I N E
bundy Bundy was the first person ever called a "serial killer" for his murderous spree across from Seattle to Florida in the 1970s. This film tells his story through his eyes, so it's more than a little unsettling, with sections that are no doubt offensive to the victims' families. Ted was a handsome man (brilliantly played by Burke) who no one could possibly suspect was a killer. He drives a harmless yellow VW bug and charms everyone he meets. His girlfriend (Bliss) feels like the luckiest woman alive ... until she begins to see shadows of repression and an obsession with control. But only we see it progress horribly to rape and murder. By the hundreds. We follow him all the way across the country, through two prison escapes and finally to his execution in Florida in 1989.

Director-cowriter Bright (Freeway) films this in a crystal clear, colourful, matter-of-fact style. The lively music is a chilling counterpoint to the gruesomeness under the surface, and he carefully makes sure we know exactly what is happening, giving us the definition of a sociopath early on and then letting us watch one in action. He also uses a lot of black comedy, toying with images of Americana--the beach babe, the cheerleader, the sorority sister, the good-guy cop, Christmas music. And combined with Burke's creepy-yet-disarming performance, the film gets under the skin remarkably; it's actually very scary stuff, watching this smiling monster on the rampage. In the end, Bright weaves in real TV footage with recreated images of Bundy waiting for the electric chair ... and then sitting in it. These images are extremely rattling, and just as matter-of-fact as what went before. And while it does get beneath the surface of the headlines, the film also feels slightly cavalier about it all, revelling in the execution--his just desserts!--along with the cheering crowd outside the prison.

cert 18 strong themes and situations, violence, language 5.Nov.02

dir Matthew Bright
scr Matthew Bright, Stephen Johnston
with Michael Reilly Burke, Boti Ann Bliss, Steffani Brass, Tiffany Shepis, Tracey Walter, Carol Mansell, Deborah Offner, Zarah Little, Meadow Sisto, Michael Keeley, Alexa Jago, Marina Black, Randy Polk
release US 13.Sep.02; UK 22.Nov.02
Tartan 02/US 1h38

Not as nice as he looks. Bundy (Burke) shows his true colours...

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send your review to Shadows... shadows M Matthews, England: "Brilliant film. Brilliantly played. It must be hard to play a sick man like that. The fact that Ted Bundy verged on brilliance but went the wrong way should be a lesson in itself. I feel very sorry for his victims' families but also feel sorry for him and his family because he possibly could have been remembered for something good rather than 100s of dirty, evil, sick, tormenting things." (20.Sep.03)

Stacey Moore, England: 5/5"This is a truly brilliant film, you can not even contemplate the fear of these women but the film helps you to see how teryfying an encounter with bundy must have been and how a man seemingly normal chose to live a life anything but mormal." (20.Jan.05)

Suzy Ragnoli, England: 5/5"Fab film but very disturbing. A glimpse into the mind of a madman. We tend to assume serial killers are ugly and inadequate and Ted was none of these. It's proof of how we can never know another human being totally. He may have been a credit to society if he hadn't gone the wrong way. But we mustn't forget the horrific deaths of those beautiful girls who deserved life." (6.Mar.06)

2002 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall