My Friend Dahmer Movie Review
Written by Ali Chappell
Written and directed by Marc Meyers
Based on the graphic novel by Derf Backderf
2017, 107 minutes, Not Yet Rated
Limited release on April 21st, 2017
Full USA release in November 2017
Ross Lynch as Jeffrey Dahmer
Anne Heche as Joyce Dahmer
Dallas Roberts as Lionel Dahmer
Alex Wolff as Derf
For those of you who are unfamiliar with Jeffrey Dahmer, he was a good looking rebel who played by his own rules. Ok that isn't it at all. He actually brutally murderer 17 men in Milwaukee between 1978 and 1991. He had sex with the corpses and while he didn't eat all of his victims, he did eat some. He was sentenced to 15 consecutive life sentences. He was later killed in prison in 1994.
My Friend Dahmer is based on the graphici novel written by Derf Backderf and tells the story of growing up with Jeffrey as a friend (sort of) before the world knew him as the monster he is. To give you some background on my life, I love serial killers. Not in a, "I want to press my boobs against the plexiglass that separates us and marry them way", but in a morbid fascination way. Two years ago, I even got a chance to read the actual letters he wrote from prison to his mother back home.
My Friend Dahmer is a gripping tale that not only makes you feel for him and his struggle, but want to be his friend, which begs the question if someone had just given him a few more hugs or liked him for who he was instead of the funny face he put on, would he have done what he did? In this prequel to the life of a real serial killer you can begin to grasp what have made Dahmer the person he became.
Director Marc Meyers was in attendance at the Canadian/International Premiere at the Fantasia Film Festival in Montreal. As it turns out, this story hits close to home. The house they shot in was Jeffrey Dahmer's real house and that was where he committed his first murder. That brings a terrifying and creepy vibe to everything, as they stood where he stood. As those of you who are a bit into the morbid curiosity of Dahmer, as I am, you know he had a little hut where he performed experiments on animals and road kill. When Meyers went to the house, they found the roof top of his original hut, still there 30 years later. They built the replica of it for the film right on top of the original location.
When it came down to casting, choosing Disney star Ross Lynch was the obvious choice. Meyers tells that after seeing audition after audition, they narrowed it down to about 25 people and while yes, some of them could've looked like Dahmer with the glasses on, none of them held a candle to Lynch. His lack of empathy in his eyes told more of the story than his words could, and his subtle facial expressions gave us insight to this.
"I watched his Disney show and thought this guy is Dahmer." A statement from Meyers that got a rise out of the audience. Who would've thought the bleached blonde haired kid from Austin and Ally had the chops it takes to play a role so dark and misunderstood?
My Friend Dahmer is an intense, gripping look at how Jeffrey Dahmer went from a shy alcoholic teen to ravenous murderer and cannibal. Another thing I will say about the movie, we all know that Dahmer wasn't right in the head and that he enjoyed murdering animals, the movie doesn't show the killings on screen. Something I give them praise for and as Meyer tells us, "The violence is in your mind by me not showing it." A statement that rang true with the audience. Also murdering animals is messed up, but hey, we've all been there.
My Friend Dahmer is set to have a USA release in November, meaning you should mark your calendars and get yourself ready for this coming-of-age film in the darkest sense of the phrase.