My Friend Dahmer (2017) – Review

Jeffrey Dahmer (Ross Lynch) is a young student, seemingly struggling to get to grips with his time in high-school and the problems it can present along the way. Not only this, but his family home is in turmoil too, with an extremely temperamental Mother (Anne Heche), and pretty uninterested Father (Dallas Roberts), going through the early stages of a divorce. Overall, a watchable film that blends various different genres but probably doesn’t warrant a second viewing on the whole.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Director: Marc Meyers
Writers: Mark Meyers, John Backderf
Starring: Ross Lynch, Anne Heche, Dallas Roberts, Alex Wolff

Based on the novel “My Friend Dahmer”, written by John Backderf, this motion picture takes a dive into the personal life of a young Jeffrey Dahmer, also known as the Milwaukee Cannibal, who committed the murder and dismemberment of seventeen men and boys between the period of 1978 and 1981, before later being killed himself in 1994, by a fellow prison inmate. This film, however, does not specifically delve into any of the murders themselves, instead this paints a rather bleak and cold picture of how Dahmer’s life was around the time of being a high-school student.

As touched upon, the film doesn’t explicitly highlight any graphic acts that involve humans, instead the filmmakers focus on animal cruelty as a means of providing a shock factor to the viewers, meaning some moments were certainly difficult to watch, but at the same time, thankfully, these weren’t that heavily prevalent. The majority of the suspenseful and tension filled moments were crafted nicely, however, using a large amount of slow, yet compelling scenes throughout the modest one-hundred and seven-minute runtime.

One solid aspect of the flick that stood out over the rest was most definitely the fact that it had a distinctly retro American feel to it, with no smart phones, no flashing cameras and very little technology at all being involved – not too surprising considering the film was set roughly around the time of 1974. The costume and set design seemed pretty authentic too, along with many of the characters and their (at times) outdated dialogue and humour to go with it. If you’re a fan of films set in this era, then this will probably interest you.

In terms of the cast, Ross Lynch starred as the lead character, Jeffrey Dahmer, while his family members were portrayed by Anne Heche, Dallas Roberts and Liam Koeth, respectively. Elsewhere, Alex Wolff adopted the role of John Derf Backderf, one of the few people that associated with Jeffrey Dahmer, consequently warranting a fair amount of screentime too.

All in all, I don’t think I’d label My Friend Dahmer as a must watch by any stretch of the imagination, with that being said, it does serve as good background and context into Jeffrey himself, especially if you’re interested in knowing more about the true crime case from decades ago. Not the worst release of 2017, but certainly not one that stands out either.

“I’m just like anybody else.”

Jeffrey Dahmer – My Friend Dahmer

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