Ted Bundy (film)

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Ted Bundy
Film poster
Directed byMatthew Bright
Written byMatthew Bright
Stephen Johnston
Produced byHamish McAlpine
Michael Muscal
StarringMichael Reilly Burke
Boti Bliss
CinematographySonja Rom
Edited byPaul Heiman
Music byKennard Ramsey
First Look Media
Tartan Films
Two Left Shoes Films
Distributed byFirst Look Media
Tartan Films
Release dates
  • 26 July 2002 (2002-07-26) (München Fantasy Filmfest)
  • 13 September 2002 (2002-09-13) (United States)
Running time69 minutes
CountriesUnited States
United Kingdom
Box office$68,716

Ted Bundy is a 2002 biographical crime thriller film written and directed by Matthew Bright, and co-written by Stephen Johnston. A limited theatrical release, it is a fictionalized dramatization of the crimes of Ted Bundy, an American serial killer who raped and murdered dozens of women and girls throughout the United States during the 1970s. It stars Michael Reilly Burke as the titular character, and Boti Bliss as Bundy's girlfriend, Lee.


In Seattle in 1974, law student Ted Bundy appears to be the typical friendly guy who lives next door, but inside this kind gentleman lies a monster. After watching women from his windows while masturbating, Ted builds up the courage to commit his first murder. From there, he always manages to lure a young woman to his car by faking a broken arm or an illness or by disguising himself as a police officer. Then he knocks her unconscious, ties her up, and drives her to an arranged location where he rapes and murders her. Driving his yellow VW Beetle, he leaves a bloody trail through the United States. The police are left in the dark, as no one suspects a model citizen and ambitious student like Ted.

Eventually, in 1975, one of Ted's victims, Tina Gabler, escapes from him when she throws herself from his moving car. Based on her description of his car, Ted is stopped by a police officer and arrested. In his trunk, the police find pantyhose masks, a hand saw, a crowbar, knives, ropes, and handcuffs. Even though he is identified by Tina Gabler in a lineup, Ted denies ever having seen the woman. When he is visited by his girlfriend, Lee, in a Colorado prison, Ted admits to her that charges are being brought against him for multiple murders, but stresses the fact that there is no evidence, however, and that he will never be convicted; at this point, Lee realizes that Ted is guilty, and she breaks up with him.

Ted asks to represent himself at his trial, and is granted access to the courthouse law library. He promptly escapes by jumping from an upper story window. He is jailed again after an attempted auto theft, but manages to escape yet again months later. Upon settling in Florida, Ted rents a room under an alias, steals a van, and continues his murder spree. This time he overpowers four women in their sorority house and brutally murders two of them. His bloodlust still unsatisfied, Ted rapes and murders a twelve-year old girl the next day. He becomes heavily intoxicated afterward, and is recognized by a police officer and arrested after a short chase.

Ted is convicted in court and sentenced to death. After making an unsuccessful plea for mercy to the governor, Ted makes a final statement before he is executed in the electric chair; the executioner is revealed to be a woman. As Lee watches news coverage of the execution with her husband, she wonders, "Who was Ted Bundy?"



The film had a limited theatrical release in the United States, in locations such as New York City and Los Angeles, in September 2002. In American, it grossed $1,710 on its opening weekend and $6,073 in total, and internationally it grossed $62,643, for a total sum of $68,716.

Home media

Ted Bundy was released in the U.S. on DVD on October 1, 2002 and in the U.K. in November 2003 under the title Bundy.

The film was released for the first time on Blu-ray disc by home video company Vinegar Syndrome on January 31, 2023.


On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 41% based on twenty-two reviews, with an average rating of 5/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Ted Bundy wastes an impressive performance from Michael Reilly Burke on an exploitative film devoid of any social context or depth." Metacritic assigned the film a weighted average score of 37 out of 100, based on eleven critics, indicating "generally unfavorable" reviews.

While critical of the film's "really offensive" final scene, Chauncey Gardner of Ain't It Cool News otherwise heaped praise on it, writing, "It's the movie American Psycho wanted to be, a balls out, no punches pulled examination of a sick and twisted soul." Maitland McDonagh of TV Guide gave the film a score of 3/5, offered kudos to Matthew Bright for not glamorizing or fetishizing Ted Bundy or his crimes, and praised Burke's acting, calling it "dead on" and a performance that perfectly evoked "the subtle wrongness beneath the facade that gripped the public imagination." Derek Elley of Variety also praised the "pulpy" and humorously macabre film, deeming it a "quality low-budgeter" that felt like a "disturbingly stygian comedy-drama" with a sine qua non performance by Burke.

The Christian Science Monitor had a lukewarm response to the film, calling it a "melodrama" and giving it a score of 2/4 before writing, "It's grisly going, but no more exploitative than a lot of mainstream TV reporting about violent crime." Marrit Ingman of The Austin Chronicle gave Ted Bundy a score of 1/5, having found aspects like its disquieting atmosphere and commentary on 1970s society to have been undermined by how "muddled" its tone was, ultimately concluding that that the film did not seem to know "what to say about its subject." Similarly, Neil Smith of the BBC lambasted the film, giving it a score of 2/5 while disparaging it as nothing but an "orgy of gratuitous violence" in which "We learn next to nothing about what made Bundy tick, and leave no closer to understanding how such aberrations occur."

Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian found the film to be a plodding and "drearily pointless" affair, and wrote, "This picture is arguably more honest than sexy star vehicles like Red Dragon. That doesn't stop it from being unrewarding, unpleasant and very, very boring." David Chute of LA Weekly was critical of the film's tone, derisively stating, "It's possible that something hip and transgressive was being attempted here that stubbornly refused to gel, but the result is more puzzling than unsettling." Mike D'Angelo of Time Out was largely dismissive of the film, opining that there was "too much exploitation and too little art" and that, "The sight of ordinary-looking people committing unspeakably vicious acts no longer carries an inherent charge, and Ted Bundy offers little else."

Jack Mathews of the New York Daily News condemned the film, deriding it as nothing but "revolting exploitation" and further stating, "If the goal of this biographical horror film about one of America's sickest serial killers was to be as loathsome as its subject, mission accomplished." Likewise, Megan Turner of the New York Post deemed the film a "trashy, exploitative, thoroughly unpleasant experience" that was both "tone-deaf" and "more than a little misogynistic." In a review written for The Village Voice, Michael Atkinson opined that the film "never digs very deep" and concluded, "In the end, Ted Bundy's only justification is the director's common but unexplored fascination with the frustrated maniac; there's no larger point, and little social context. Badlands this ain't."

Michael Reilly Burke and Boti Bliss were nominated for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actress, respectively, at the 2003 Fangoria Chainsaw Awards.

See also


  1. ^ "Ted Bundy (2002)". bfi.org.uk. British Film Institute. Archived from the original on June 8, 2018. Retrieved 24 September 2022.
  2. ^ a b "Ted Bundy (2002)". boxofficemojo.com. Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 24 September 2022.
  3. ^ "Ted Bundy (2002)". catalog.afi.com. American Film Institute. Retrieved 25 September 2022.
  4. ^ "Ted Bundy (DVD)". Amazon. 2002. Retrieved 29 January 2023.
  5. ^ "Bundy (U.K. DVD)". Amazon UK. 2003. Retrieved 29 January 2023.
  6. ^ "Ted Bundy (2002)". Bluray. Retrieved 29 January 2023.
  7. ^ "Ted Bundy". rottentomatoes.com. Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 27 September 2022.
  8. ^ "Ted Bundy". metacritic.com. Metacritic. Retrieved 27 September 2022.
  9. ^ Gardner, Chauncey (11 February 2002). "Matthew Bright's Ted Bundy film!!! "The Boogie Nights of Serial Killer Flicks..." aintitcool.com. Ain't It Cool News. Retrieved 27 September 2022.
  10. ^ McDonagh, Maitland. "Smiling faces, sometimes". tvguide.com. Internet Archive. Archived from the original on 9 March 2005. Retrieved 25 September 2022.
  11. ^ Elley, Derek. "Ted Bundy". variety.com. Internet Archive. Archived from the original on 26 September 2008. Retrieved 25 September 2022.
  12. ^ "Movie Guide". Christian Science Monitor. The Christian Science Monitor. 13 September 2002. Retrieved 25 September 2022.
  13. ^ Ingman, Marrit (16 October 2002). "Ted Bundy". The Austin Chronicle. Retrieved 27 September 2022.
  14. ^ Smith, Neil (15 November 2002). "Bundy (2002)". BBC. Retrieved 27 September 2022.
  15. ^ Bradshaw, Peter (22 November 2002). "Bundy". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 September 2022.
  16. ^ Chute, David. "Bundy". L.A. Weekly. Archived from the original on 24 December 2004. Retrieved 25 September 2022.
  17. ^ D'Angelo, Mike. "Ted Bundy". Time Out New York. Archived from the original on 4 February 2005. Retrieved 25 September 2022.
  18. ^ Mathews, Jack. "More movie reviews". New York Daily News. Archived from the original on 7 May 2006. Retrieved 25 September 2022.
  19. ^ Turner, Megan (13 September 2002). "Film About Serial Killer Out of Kilter". New York Post. Retrieved 27 September 2022.
  20. ^ Atkinson, Michael (10 September 2002). "You've Got a Fiend". The Village Voice. Retrieved 27 September 2022.
  21. ^ "Annual Fangoria Chainsaw Awards". Horror Asylum. 3 April 2003. Retrieved 1 October 2022.

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