Amazon’s new five-part docuseries looks to retell a familiar story by sharing it among others whose lives were affected by the infamous serial killer — and it succeeds admirably.
There are some stories that are told and retold in various forms, and perhaps will continue to be told forever. The story of Ted Bundy is one of them. Only last year, we saw an exaggerated dramatization starring Zach Efron, of all people, and a docuseries which premiered on the 30th anniversary of Bundy’s execution — both on Netflix. With Ted Bundy: Falling for a Killer, Amazon Prime are looking to get in on the action, and have managed to craft an important and unique version of a well-known tale across a five-episode docuseries which sensitively and engagingly insists that Bundy’s story is not just his, but that of the women, those who made it and those who didn’t, whose lives he crossed paths with.
By exploring the evolving relationship between Elizabeth Kendall and Bundy, and several other accounts besides, Falling for a Killer allows these women to take ownership of their stories; to reclaim pieces of themselves taken by Bundy and used to assemble his legacy. That legacy is, here, a frank and human one; the recounting of an evil man’s heinous actions, without any of the sensationalism or glamorization that often accompanies such a prolific criminal. The underlying air of feminist empowerment is reinforced by the tracking of socio-political issues, particularly those regarding sexual assault, feminism, and prevailing attitudes to women, and how those issues both factored into and developed as a result of Bundy’s crimes.
Ted Bundy: Falling for a Killer utilizes the usual tricks and tools of the genre — talking heads, stock photos, eyewitness testimony, etc. – but never loses its unique perspective. This is not a docuseries about Ted Bundy, per se, but about women. In its specific slant, it finds enough personal poignancy to elevate it above the glut of other productions on the same subject. Its sensitivity and importance shouldn’t be understated. Some stories we tell and retell for a reason. With Ted Bundy: Falling for a Killer, Amazon Prime has found perhaps the best reason yet.
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