Chad Michael Murray gives a haunting performance in the titular role in one of two latest films from Daniel Farrands.
In 1974, Ted Bundy had been on a killing spree, kidnapping and ultimately killing women in the state of Washington and Utah. When Kathleen McChesney, the only female detective in the Seattle area and the top detective of the Sex Crimes Unit, begins profiling him, she is met with resistance. Especially from her superior and his son, who he is priming to be the top cop of the police. However, someone who believes in her is Robert Reissler, a FBI agent who believes McCheshney could be a vital assistance to the investigation.
As Bundy continues to target various women all over the Western U.S., one victim, Carol DeRonch is able to escape from Bundy and eventually he is captured and sent to prison. Two years later, Bundy has successfully escaped from prison and found a new hunting ground in Florida. When McChesney discovers that her superior has shut down her department and has in fact transferred her to Vice with his son, she is visibly mad but Reissler still has some faith in her to help re-capture Bundy, who has found a new potential victim on the grounds of Florida State University.
One of America’s top serial killers crosses paths with America’s premier filmmaker involving “alternate history of crime” films. Written and directed by Daniel Farrands, the force behind The Amityville Murders, The Haunting of Sharon Tate, and The Murder of Nicole Brown Simpson, this film is a juxtaposition and eventual connection between the notorious Ted Bundy and the two detectives who eventually stopped his reign of terror once and for all.
Taking on the role of Bundy is Chad Michael Murray, best known for his roles on One Tree Hill, Riverdale, and others. What’s interesting and what makes this a juxtaposition is that we not only see Bundy in action, but he is a narrator to his side of things, using various quotes to entail why he does what he does. We see him fake a disability to trap potential victims while post-escape, he changes his name and finds himself as a boarder at a sorority house. Murray may not be on the level of a Zac Efron or Mark Harmon when it comes to playing the role, but he finds his own vision of the role and does it pretty well.
On the other side, we have Holland Roden given a great performance as Kathleen McChesney, the Seattle-based detective who is constantly met with resistance because she is a female. She tells her eventual partner how she was told women can never be FBI agents. What’s even more interesting is that Jake Hays’ Robert Reissler tells her that times are changing. There’s even the notion on Farrands’ part in which the name “serial killer” had been coined with a conversation between McChesney and Reissler.
There are some important supporting cast members that make the most of their roles, some more vital than others. The legendary Lin Shaye makes a cameo appearance as Bundy’s mother, who believes he is innocent just misguided. Diane Franklin plays the mother of one of Bundy’s victims who demands action. Franklin’s real-life daughter Olivia DeLaurentis plays one of Bundy’s victims who narrowly escapes the clutches of the killer. Greer Grammer, the daughter of Kelsey, plays a woman who Bundy sees as a future victim in the last act of the film, and makes the most of her screen time.
Ted Bundy: American Boogeyman takes the two sides of the coin, one in Bundy and one in the two detectives in charge of the investigation and separates them with bringing them together on a few occasions. It’s nothing like Zac Efron’s take but holds its own in a way.
WFG RATING: C+
Voltage Pictures presents a 1428 Films production in association with Green Light Pictures. Director: Daniel Farrands. Producer: Luke Daniels. Writer: Daniel Farrands. CInemtography: Luke Bazeli. Editing: Dan Riddle.
Cast: Chad Michael Murray, Holland Roden, Jake Hays, Olivia DeLaurentis, Anthony DeLongis, Sky Patterson, Diane Franklin, Lin Shaye, Greer Grammer, Marietta Melrose.