Berlinger arguably could have kept much of the documentary’s archival source material, with its heavy emphasis on Bundy, while reframing the killer’s story as one about the women whose lives he cut short. Instead, he produced a perfectly serviceable Conversations that adds little to the conversation at all.
There are no narrative twists awaiting us here. No miscarriages of justice straining to be heard. No insights into the complexities of an unfolding case or scandal of corrupt policemen, judges, clergy or politicians. The tapes themselves are the USP here. ... The only truly chilling thing about Conversations With a Killer was how unchilling it was.
Despite the editors’ superb interweaving of personal photos, police evidence, and archival footage of ’70s Seattle, Conversations with a Killer seems largely unaware of its own obliviousness. Just because the series, like Michaud, can’t get to the center of Bundy doesn’t mean that the only potentially interesting storytelling avenue has been obstructed, and therefore there’s nothing a filmmaker can do but say, “People are ultimately unknowable, and Bundy is no exception.”
Bundy is at best an unpleasant companion through four long episodes, and at worst repellent--makes Conversations With a Killer a must only for true-crime completists. ... For the uninitiated, though, the film takes the form of the banal audio footage at its core. ... [Director Joe Berlinger] never proves why Bundy matters as anything other than a case study in narcissism.