Zac Efron as Ted Bundy in Netflix's "Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile"
photo: Netflix

Netflix is not stopping with the hypersexualized serial killer narrative, and people are split about it. While Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile, which debuted Friday, was troubling, many still found it to be a compelling and interesting take on the story of real-life serial killer Ted Bundy. 

On the one hand, the portrayal of Bundy as a charismatic and attractive person was an accurate part of the real man's story. On the other, choosing someone as notoriously "sexy" as Zac Efron to play the character contributes to the glorification of the murderer. 

Following the debut of the film's trailer, Netflix reminded fans to be sensitive about the content in the movie. And this isn't the first time Netflix has cast a conventionally attractive man in the role of the serial killer. When Penn Badgley was cast in the series You, the service received some backlash for the glamorization of a murderer. Badgley himself had to remind fans that his character is a BAD guy, not someone to pine over.

Efron executive-produced the biopic and has commented many times on the movie's intent. He also revealed how difficult the role was for him to take on. 

People are attracted to Ted Bundy all over again. And that's really scary. 

In one of many tweets, this person romanticizes the former Disney star's role. Efron is notoriously attractive and has been a heartthrob for the past 10 years. His most notable credits include playing the romantic leads in films such as the High School Musical saga, Baywatch, 17 Again, and Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates. 

Efron portrayed Bundy so convincingly that people questioned whether or not he was innocent in real life.

Efron encapsulated the character's personality, looks, and charm so convincingly that the infamous murders were questioned by some viewers. With this role, Efron has veered far from his days of rom-com leads and teenage heartthrob days. Now he is portraying a cold-blooded killer, but can Efron's fans see him in that light?

Even people who were expecting the hypersexualization of the serial killer experienced the effects of Efron's casting.

Following the backlash from the biopic's first trailer, viewers went into this movie knowing full well that they could experience some glorification of the character. However, this person experienced those feelings despite knowing and preparing for what to expect. 

The choice to cast Efron in the role is understood when looking at images of the actor and the murderer. Their likeness is uncanny. 

Side-by-side images of the serial killer and the actor are unnerving. Efron got so into character that he even had a hard time separating himself off-camera from the disturbing role. Most people commended Efron on his performance, despite the troubling message his casting could send. 

Efron said it wasn't their intent to glorify the murderer. 

Efron told Entertainment Tonight about the film's intent and his process of getting into such a disturbing character. 

"It doesn't really glorify Ted Bundy. He wasn't a person to be glorified. It simply tells a story and sort of how the world was able to be charmed over by this guy who was notoriously evil and the vexing position that so many people were put in, the world was put in. It was fun to go and experiment in that realm of reality."

Some argue that Efron makes a perfect Ted Bundy, as it reflects Bundy's true character.

People on Twitter went back and forth on Efron's portrayal of the character. Some found it to be disturbing and problematic while others felt it was an honest reflection of what really happened. This person writes, "The point is that Ted Bundy WAS charming, attractive and managed to convince dozens of women that he didn’t rape and murder 30+ young girls," this user points out.

Some people brought up the harm that movies about serial killers cause. 

Some critics of true crime movies and documentaries following the lives of serial killers plead with people to leave these films "unwatched." The latest obsession with serial killers is problematic, as argued by Teen Vogue. By telling these (almost always) white male murderers' stories in a way that humanizes or, worse, romanticizes them, filmmakers take away from the horrific acts that made them infamous in the first place. They also mostly fail to pay respects to their victims.

The portrayal of Bundy didn't sit right with many viewers. 

The film caused many viewers to have confused, troubled feelings about the film's telling of the story. Zac Efron did do a terrific job in his acting and portrayal, but the story itself leaves many feeling upset. 

One person reminded viewers not to romanticize Efron's performance and to keep in mind the hearts of the story — the murder victims. 

This person posted a picture of all of Bundy's victims, and asked viewers to refrain from lusting over or romanticizing the serial killer. While stories of mass murder and tragedy are told quite often, the stories of the victims are usually brushed over or forgotten. 

Many people were disappointed in another story following Bundy's history because it brings attention to the wrong people. 

Despite pop culture's love for true crime stories, it's important to keep in mind the problematic effects some of these narratives can have. The telling of the Ted Bundy story makes this person, and many others, deeply uncomfortable.