Before his arrest and conviction for serial murders, chocolate factory worker Jeffrey Dahmer hunts Milwaukee, Wisconsin, for young attractive males to turn into unconscious (eventually dead) human sex toys, current acts which often prompt memories of earlier killings and of dealings with his suspicious but unaware father.Written by
David Birke, the writer, has written 3 movies about serial killers. Dahmer (2002) about Jeffrey Dahmer, Gacy (2003) about John Wayne Gacy, and Freeway Killer (2010) about William Bonin. See more »
When Dahmer gets pulled over by the cop in 1978, he shows a New York State driver's license from post 1995. See more »
On February 15, 1992 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Jeffrey Lionel Dahmer was convicted of 15 counts of murder and sentenced to 937 years of federal prison. The following story was inspired by events from his life. Certain characters and events are fictional.
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Though the names of Jeffrey Dahmer's victims were changed in this biopic, details of his killing methods were used; yet, the film's closing disclaimer states that any similarities to the history of any actual person, living or dead, or any actual event is entirely coincidental and unintentional. See more »
People seem really disgusted by the film, but the only thing that disgusts me are the negative reviews. This is a very well-made film that was put together on a very low budget. Films like this always have the immediate handicap of focusing not only on an evil, psychotic main character, but focusing on an evil, psychotic main character who we all know. There weren't too many complaints about "The Talented Mr. Ripley" (a great film) focusing on a psychopath, but that's because Tom Ripley is a fictional character. Like everybody, I believe that what Jeffrey Dahmer did was wrong, and I feel sorry for all the families who lost sons and other relatives due to him. But this movie was not made to portray him as a hero, nor a villain. It's meant to portray him as a person. We all know about the crimes that Dahmer committed. But we don't know about Dahmer himself. We don't what drove Dahmer to madness, and what led up to the subsequent rapes, murders and eventual cannibalism. And the movie doesn't try to shock us with gory details of these grisly occurrences, because that's not its intention. There's no use showing us what we already know.
I found this biopic deeply fascinating. I learned a lot about Dahmer that I never knew previously. I can't say I relate to him that much, other than being lonely and an only child, but that didn't stop me from seeing how he was as a human being. While watching the film, I said to myself, "How come we don't learn much about his family life?" Maybe his family life had nothing to do with choosing to be that way. Not every serial killer commits murder because he was abused as a child. From the looks of things, he had a pretty well-to-do upbringing.
What I did get a sense of was his alienation and shyness. He felt his homosexuality served as a handicap in his society. And he wasn't brilliantly sociable, so he didn't have an easy time making friends or getting guys to go out with him, or have sex with him for that matter. But his perversions took him so far that he'd walk into a gay bar and slip roofies into guys' drinks (which is shown in an extended montage), take them to the back and have sex with them as they're helpless and passed out. It's interesting to find out this can happen among homosexuals as well. There's a long history of guys slipping roofies into women's drinks to get them in the sack, so Dahmer was no different from any horny heterosexual guy, only he took it many steps further.
One thing I must criticize is the use of flashbacks. When I first watched the film, I had the impression that the whole movie was about young Jeffrey Dahmer and the story was told in a linear fashion. But after watching the featurette and watching it a second time with the commentary, I realized that the movie was bouncing back and forth from Jeffrey in his later years to Jeffrey in his earlier years. I personally didn't think slapping facial hair on him made him look much older. He still looked like he was in his twenties, so I had no hint of his aging. Once I watched it a second time, the story became much more clear to me, but others watching it for the first time might get confused as well.
I liked the use of lighting. Jeffrey's room is lit completely red, giving it almost a hell-ish appearance. And towards the end, the lighting becomes much darker, as Dahmer becomes more evil.
The performances are good all-around. Jeremy Renner does an incredible job at playing Dahmer, expressing a laundry list of emotions with his face and body language alone. I kept trying to recall where I saw him before, since his face looked very familiar, and then I checked his filmography and found out he was in "National Lampoon's Senior Trip." Of course, this movie gave him a much better opportunity at showing off his acting abilities. Talented, underrated actor Bruce Davison makes a few appearances as Dahmer's father, also doing an incredible job the 10 minutes-or-so he's on screen.
Though I found the film fascinating and thought-provoking, I still wish I could've learned a little more about what drove Dahmer to madness. The director mentioned it wasn't his intention to give backstory on Dahmer's life, and instead make it an emotional drama, but it would've made the film more interesting. But one scene that caught me completely by surprise was when young Jeffrey cringing when cutting up one of his victim's bodies and eventually bursting into tears. I'm sure his remorse decreased over the years, but I don't ever visualize a serial killer feeling shame about his victims. I saw John Liszt (sp) in an interview once and he described his methods of mutilating his victims without batting an eye. So this is not exactly the movie's cue to have the audience feel sorry for Dahmer and cry along with him, but it's enlightening to find out that had emotions as well. He was just so driven by his psychological sicknesses that his emotions couldn't hinder him.
My score: 8 (out of 10)
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