If you’re unusually fascinated with the psychological and characteristic fundamentals of serial killers as much as me, you’ll be able to recognize Jeffrey Dahmer without hesitation. Born on May 21st, 1960 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S. Dahmer committed various malicious crimes such as rape, murder and mutilation of 17 men and boys. Frequently indulging in necrophilia, cannibalism and preserving the body parts of his victims as a declaration of accomplishment. I’ve observed countless articles, books, movies and interviews surrounding Jeffrey Dahmer. So, why on earth was I sympathizing with Dahmer in Marc Meyers latest film, My Friend Dahmer?
My Friend Dahmer directed by Marc Meyers is a biographical drama movie that surrounds the childhood of perhaps America’s most notorious serial killer. The film successfully encapsulates the essence and fundamental core of John “Derf” Backderf’s graphic novel of the same name. Derf went to Revere High School, Ohio, the same high school as Dahmer. He and his friends would observe Dahmer’s eccentric behavior as he would fake epileptic fits and impersonate the characteristics of someone enduring cerebral palsy. With this newly found fascination, Derf and his friends would invite Dahmer to socialise and the inaugural meeting of the “Dahmer Fan Club” initiated. Within this “fan club”, Derf and his friends would request Dahmer to use his unique impersonation skills in various environments such as the library or the local mall. Often paying him for his performances. Perhaps this was Dahmer trying to fit in socially or was he just impersonating the interior decorator who visited his mother the previous day as it made him laugh?
Ross Lynch portrays Jeffrey Dahmer realistically, resembling an eerie comparison. Lynch even stated that he took extended showers to escape and evacuate the Jeffrey Dahmer character from his consciousness. Jeffrey Dahmer inhabited numerous issues throughout his childhood. His morbid obsession with dismembering dead animals and dissolving their remains in acid. Overcoming the harsh realities of high school. Battling his frustration and understanding his sexual orientation by stalking the jogger consistently. Comprehending the inevitable disintegration of his family. Combating his inescapable alcoholism to subdue his mentality. Ross Lynch encapsulates Jeffrey Dahmer’s childhood with his performance. Incubating his suppressed resentments, his introvert characteristic, his zombie-esque movement and the way he struggles to convey his emotions. Lynch studied Dahmer’s stature and his mentality effectively.
Marc Meyers took the initiative to shoot My Friend Dahmer in the Dahmer childhood household in Ohio to enrich the realism. The film follows Derf’s graphic novel religiously, however, it heightens specific scenes to incorporate a feeling of tension. One scene in particular which is so bizarre to comprehend was when they had a field trip to Washington, D.C. Dahmer’s friends were conversing, joking about meeting President Carter when Dahmer takes the initiative to phone his office from a nearby payphone. He successfully got through to Vince President Walter Mondale’s office and arranged a private tour.
Let me explain myself. My Friend Dahmer is a fascinating character driven story that provokes a sympathetic sentiment towards Dahmer. However, the movie does not justify Dahmer but rather illuminate his serial killer tendencies. Obviously, I’m not a serial killer fanatic that worships and praises these people. I just find the whole psychological and mentality extremely fascinating. It’s funny that I’m justifying myself here. My Friend Dahmer is an exceptional insight into the mind and upbringing of Jeffrey Dahmer. It’s not a gore fest whatsoever, it’s an unnerving study. There is a feeling of sympathy as you watch him trying to fit into high school and the only way he can do is by being a “performance act”. However, Dahmer has recalled his high school days fondly, stating that he did have a good time. Then there’s the problematic family issues surrounding Dahmer too. Drifting away each day as his mother and father undergo a divorce, ultimately leaving Dahmer alone to finally embrace his concealed thoughts.