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Netflix's Ted Bundy documentary review roundup: Conversations With a Killer receives mixed reaction

The streaming service has warned viewers not to watch the series alone

Jack Shepherd
Friday 25 January 2019 09:27
Conversations with a Killer The Ted Bundy Tapes trailer

Netflix has released their four-part Ted Bundy documentary, Conversations with a Killer.

The series uses both archival news footage from the period, incorporating interviews Bundy’s prison tapes as well as new interviews with journalists, Bundy’s friends, and survivors.

Critics have since had their say on the series, with the reviews being relatively mixed. While many praised the characterisation of Bundy, others said the documentary failed to offer any deep insight into the mass murderer’s case.

“The only truly chilling thing about Conversations With a Killer was how unchilling it was,” writes Lucy Mangan in a two-star review for The Guardian. “What does massing those who knew him as a friend, as a lover or who suffered at his hands really do, except add to his mystique and the glamour of such crimes?”

Helen Brown, writing for The Telegraph, says that director Joe Berlinger plays with the Bundy myth, but adds nothing particularly original: “[In] 2019 we’re more than aware that a psychopath can look good in a suit and hold down a good job.”

IGN‘s critic holds a similar view: “The show focuses too much energy on providing a linear, straightforward account of Bundy’s life without saying enough about what made Bundy tick and why the public became so fascinated by his crimes.”

Vox‘s Aja Romano adds that the series could have been more interesting had the filmmakers decided to spend more time speaking to the women affected by Bundy, saying they could have “reframed the killer’s story as one about the women whose lives he cut short”. The reviewer concludes that the documentary is “a perfectly serviceable Conversation that adds little to the conversation at all.”

Daniel D’Addario of Variety praises the use of archived footage, much of which has been unheard by the public, while Merrill Barr writes for Forbes: “The formatting and pacing are solid and the content is presented in a very easy to digest way, which is something one has not been able to say about Netflix true crime docs for quite some time.”

Meanwhile, Netflix has warned subscriber not to watch Conversations with a Killer alone.

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