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Dahmer (2002)

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Biopic about notorious American serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, taking place in both the past and the present.


David Jacobson


David Jacobson
3,537 ( 999)
3 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Jeremy Renner ... Jeffrey Dahmer
Bruce Davison ... Lionel Dahmer
Artel Great ... Rodney (as Artel Kayaru)
Matt Newton ... Lance Bell
Dion Basco ... Khamtay
Kate Williamson ... Grandma
Christina Payano Christina Payano ... Letitia
Tom'ya Bowden Tom'ya Bowden ... Shawna
Sean Blakemore ... Corliss
Mickey Swenson Mickey Swenson ... Officer Phillips
Julius Branca Julius Branca ... Officer Powell
Pierson Blaetz Pierson Blaetz ... Officer Martin
Vincent Zangari Vincent Zangari ... Ohio Officer
Xavier Lawrence Xavier Lawrence ... Young Man in Bar
David Manis ... Shop Steward


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 statmanjeff

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The mind is a place of its own.

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for aberrant violence, sexuality, language and some drug use | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »






Release Date:

13 March 2003 (Sweden) See more »

Also Known As:

The Mind Is a Place of Its Own See more »

Filming Locations:

San Francisco, California, USA See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$16,093, 21 June 2002, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$144,008, 11 August 2002
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Director Kathryn Bigelow wanted to cast Jeremy Renner for Sgt William James in The Hurt Locker (2008) in large part due to his performance in this film. See more »


At the end when Dahmer and Rodney are fighting, Rodney's wife beater changes from white to red and back to white again. See more »


[first lines]
Title Card: 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.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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 »


Version of The Secret Life: Jeffrey Dahmer (1993) See more »


You're Movin' Me
Performed by Clyde McPhatter
Written by Brook Benton and Clyde Otis
Used by permission from Iza Music
Administered by The Clyde Otis Music Group
Courtesy of The Clyde Otis Music Group
See more »

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User Reviews

Leave your popcorn in the cupboard.
25 September 2002 | by Quatto_the_ProphetSee all my reviews


I'm not going to waste time weeding through morals or

questioning what this film should have been or what it failed to

address. I'm not going to apologize for recommending a film that

severs itself from shallow entertainment instead manifesting itself

in the realm of art. We all know the case of Jeffery Dahmer; none of

us can imagine the horrors his victims hopelessly resisted or the

suffering the victims' families are still living trough. The American

public, after watching clips of Dahmer's trial on television, has

unanimously recognized that the man committed sick cannibalistic

acts of debauchery, and we all condemn those acts. With that said,

I can now focus on the film and what it offers.

Dahmer is not a documentary; it is an intimate look at the person

behind the private made public headlines. It is based on actual

events dating back to his teenage years growing up in the

confusion of his parents' separation to his years as a seasoned

serial killer. It is a study of a man dealing with common issues,

and it is a modest revelation of a serial killer's routines and

fixations. Although the film is not excessively graphic, there are a

few instances where the grotesque is implied, leaving your

imagination freedom to paint a more terrifying image.

The film risks portraying Jeffery Dahmer as a human being.

Essentially that's what he really was; the myth, the legend of

Jeffery Dahmer only exists in the media and in the American

consciousness. This film vaguely brings light to circumstances

that arguably aid the creation of a madman; it does not attempt to

defend the man, only to create a believable reality that is a man.

Watching this film, you cannot help but to sympathize with Jeffery

Dahmer, he is the central character and the only character that is

investigated on an intimate level. A pain of misfortune surrounds

Dahmer; perhaps if he had grown up in a different region, or if

different people had influenced him, maybe his hands would not

have been so bloodied.

There is a reality in this film that would not have been achieved

through Hollywood; this film would not have been allowed in

Hollywood. Dahmer does not follow a predictable chain of

events-–there is no simplified arch of conflict and resolution. The

filmmakers offer a snapshot into Jeffery Dahmer's life. They do not

attempt to preach against the rape and murder of Dahmer's

victims or his twisted lifestyle; nor do they defend it. Such

judgement would have made this film part of the facile Hollywood

template. This movie is worth watching because it confronts real

issues of abandonment, seclusion, obsession, sexuality, and the

consequence of sick curiosity. Leave your popcorn in the


-Nathan Danilowicz

4 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
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