Jeffrey Dahmer was an American serial killer who committed 17 murders from 1978 to 1991. Yes, this review has started a little darker than any of my others but I feel you should really know who this man is and what he was capable of before you watch.
My Friend Dahmer (2017) tells the hauntingly true tale of a young Jeffrey Dahmer trying to make it through high school. Everything we are told is real and came from the words of John ‘Derf’ Backderf who had a teenage friendship with the serial killer. Knowing that everything we see in this film truly happened makes the watch even more thrilling and intriguing.
Although this film takes place in Dahmer’s early life, meaning we do not get to see any of his crimes, we do get a real sense of what he was like as a person. I felt like I kept forgetting who this film was about, at times I even had to stop myself feeling sorry for him as I know what he did next. Although I do not think the film was made for us to feel sorry for Dahmer I could not help myself, the characters and the story was so compelling that I felt like I wanted to help these characters.
Ross Lynch played Jeffrey Dahmer and he did a marvellous job, I myself have watched several Dahmer interviews and am aware of his mannerisms and voice. Lynch did such a brilliant job of bringing this infamous monster alive once again, it was a hauntingly accurate and realistic performance that is going to stick with me for a while. Of course, I do not think you need to go off and watch Dahmer interviews in order to appreciate his acting but for me it most certainly helped.
Alex Wolff played John ‘Derf’ Backderf and he also did a brilliant job, he was captivating and so realistic in awkward and uncomfortable situations with Dahmer that I felt like he was truly scared of Lynch at times.
The narrative of trying to fit into high school in any other film would be over used and boring but knowing who our characters are, really gives this film dimension. It makes it so much more interesting to watch knowing our main character was real and really did all those things. I was nervous to watch as I am aware that Dahmer experimented in animal slaughter but luckily the film was rather tasteful and did not show any gore or upsetting scenes.
This film in a nutshell is about friendship and watching a sad awkward teenager make friends for the first time in his life, we are encouraged to feel so many emotions towards Dahmer that by the end of the film we do not know how to truly feel about him. Was he born that way? Was he nurtured into being that way? Or was he simply sick… of course, none of us really know but this film really makes us think about that.
It is not a documentary, this film does not need your full attention at all times, it is a nice film to watch but when you think of the reality, the film can be slightly ruined. If you enjoy crime thrillers you will most likely enjoy this, it also incorporates coming of age and comedy but most of all this film is chilling to watch.
I thoroughly enjoyed having an insight into one of the world’s most infamous characters but make sure you do not let this film make you feel sorry Jeffrey Dahmer….
9/10 probe points