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8/10
A brilliant addition to the serial killer genre, and also the coming-of-age genre
paulmcuomo25 June 2018
Warning: Spoilers
The true life serial killer genre isn't exactly over-crowded, just more that there's fictionalised ones that take more of a forefront - Hannibal Lecter, Norman Bates, Freddy Krueger all for instance - and they always portray those characters with a certain degree of appeal. However, when I was watching this movie, I was thinking of a less violent but just as emotionally wringing version of the brilliant Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, based heavily on Henry Lee Lucas.

My Friend Dahmer comes at the story of Jeffery Dahmer from an interesting angle; it follows Dahmer growing up at school, following from aged 17 to his first murder at 18 - the film stops just after he picks up Steven Hicks. The story as written by John Backderf, played by Alex Wolff in the film, follows him and his various friends as they both invite Dahmer into their group to use him in various pranks, but also try and be friendly with him - or as friendly as you can be to an asocial, seemingly asexual outcast who fakes seizures to get attention.

The film does have certain benefits that I would say raise it above the bar of simply "good" to great. Firstly, the cinematography is first class; there is so much boldness and colourfulness that does associate it much more with a coming-of-age film - the sharpness of colours does remind me a lot of The Spectacular Now, and that type of look helps the movie have a groundedness to it and make you almost forget you're watching a film about one of the most infamous serial killers in history. The script is full of very interesting scenarios about both the characters and the town that we're growing up in. You get to see the individual disintegration of the lives of both Dahmer's parents, which are brilliantly realised by both Dallas Roberts and Anne Heche, you get to see the conflicting dynamic between Derf and his friends over their treatment of Jeffery and how their whole lives are currently going off course.

The cast is strong - small, and full of little parts that still stick with you. Alex Wolff is kind of nerdishly charming as John Backderf, who views what him and his friends are doing as harmless fun and does seem to like Dahmer, really. There's a recurrent role of a doctor played by Vincent Kartheiser who Dahmer starts to fantasise over, played with a normalcy that makes the part stand out.

However, BY A MILE, the best part of this move is Ross Lynch as the young Jeffery Dahmer. The thing that makes this performance as Dahmer so interesting is that he's not an overly awkward, nerdy, introverted guy at the start of the film - he's just someone who has problems but isn't overall bad. However, as the film goes on, you see this guy growing more and more dangerously in upon himself, and the few good qualities leave him overtime - his willingness to make people laugh, his academic interests, and even his acceptance of Derf's drawings for him are completely gone over the course of the film. I won't say the film made me feel sad for him, but more despair watching someone become more and more lost than anything else.

From his graduation towards the end of the film, when he literally left entirely alone by his family, just left with a bottle of Vodka, the film's tone shifts from amusing to soulless, and it's a tone that Ross Lynch fully embraces, through an unbelievably tense scene with Derf, to the brilliant final scene where he picks up hitchhiker Steven Hicks, that felt me very emotionally shook. I really liked this film, a lot. It shows a great showcase of acting from Ross Lynch, who looks more than capable of shedding his Disney Channel image, and also Marc Meyers for directing such good material.
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8/10
SPAZ
js-6613013 December 2017
Not a comedy. I repeat, this is not a comedy.

Also of note for the squeamish set: no serial killing here, just the seemingly mundane life of a high school misfit. Jeffery Dahmer is a mopey, four-eyed moptop, shuffling through adolescence, dealing with a fractious household in the bland and brown seventies.

Of course we all know how this plays out, and that ominous shadow creates a vicious tension throughout this excellently unsettling film. Collecting and dissolving road kill in his makeshift shed lab, is certainly cause for concern, but it is Dahmer's awkward interactions with his peers, family, and authority figures, that bring the shivers. We know there is an explosion coming, but we just don't know how or when.

Based on a graphic novel by a high school chum, "My Friend Dahmer" focuses on the usual tribulations of teenagers searching to belong. Either bullied (nasty) or ignored (worse), Dahmer gains a strange semblance of attention by spazzing out in school. If fake epileptic convulsions means popularity, then so be it.

Former Disney star Ross Lynch brings a perfect blend of desperation and dread to the complicated lead. He has issues, but what outcast teen doesn't? Among his many quirks, Dahmer's seemingly innocuous interest in a neighbourhood jogger (a running theme throughout) is one hell of a creepy sequence, even though nothing comes of it. We see a series of small events that may point to the evolution of a monster, or to a weirdo biology major. There's a fork in this road!

This all foreplay movie succeeds brilliantly because it plays the audience, who for once, are itching to spoil the ending.
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9/10
Somewhat slow but powerful all the same, and full of brilliant performances
Larry-11520 November 2017
I'm a fan of Derf's graphic novel about his teen experiences in the late '70s with Jeff Dahmer -- as a result I had mixed feelings about a film version. On the one hand, I was excited, but on the other was quite curious how the relatively brief story could be turned into a feature length film.

In terms of storytelling, the movie works. Yes, as a reader of the graphic novel may have suspected, the pace ends up being a bit slow, but it's still compelling stuff -- the viewer is there just as Dahmer arrives at a fork in the road of his life. Which way will he take? Will he end up just being an eccentric, or will he take that other, infinitely darker road?

We all know the answer, and of course the movie has a strong tragic element to it. It's all the more tragic -- for Dahmer's victims and their families, but also for Dahmer himself -- when we see that there was just enough to the guy ... just enough potential ... to make him possibly go the other way.

At times watching the movie can be tough going, but not for the reasons you might think. Watching a kid as painfully awkward and then as deeply depressed as Dahmer go through the torture of Middle American high school can be truly excruciating, all the more so because it seems to be happening in slow motion, like watching a car crash. But make no mistake -- it is absorbing human drama, quite unique in our age of comic book heroes and lurid reality TV.

Even if you don't particularly like slow-burn drama, see the movie anyway, for the performances. Lynch doesn't say a lot but he's truly engrossing to watch. Anne Heche is virtually unrecognizable as Dahmer's mother skating along the lip of sanity -- her manic performance is brilliant and unforgettable. And as usual Dallas Roberts impresses as Dahmer's father.

Highly recommended -- but don't go expecting a serial killer flick.
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7/10
A Prequel to Madness
gregsrants13 October 2017
Warning: Spoilers
David Berkowitz. John Wayne Gacy. Ted Bundy. Ed Gein. It's fascinating how the names of some of North America's most sensationalized serial killers have their names as familiar through cross-generational age groups as George Washington, Martin Luthur King and Michael Jackson. Pop culture seems equally enamored by rampages of the more infamous multiple murderers and have dedicated innumerable television episodes, podcasts and theatrical releases to their subjects taking dramatic licenses to piece together the anatomy of a killer.

One of the more interesting films to premiere with the weight of factual atrocities associated with the title character is My Friend Dahmer which dramatizes the complex high school life of renowned serial killer and cannibal Jeffrey Dahmer who was responsible for the butchering of 17 young men between 1978 and the late 1980's.

Based on the book by Derf Backderf and co-written by director Mark Meyers, My Friend Dahmer attempts to show us the events in the life of the protagonist before he began to take human lives. Former Disney alum teen idol Ross Lynch accepts the responsibility of channeling a teenaged Dahmer through the events of his life that would eventually culminate in the carnage associated with the name. Lynch embodies Dahmer as a loner with shrugged shoulders who meanders through his relative non-existence at both school and at home. With no friends and a family engorged on their own turmoil, Dahmer finds exultant refuge in a small shack in the woods by the family home where he experiments with dead animals soaked in acid. Dahmer does not hide his fascination with dead animal bones and his passion for the macabre would eventually lead his father (Dallas Roberts) to destroy his son's secret sanctuary.

Meanwhile, at school, Dahmer becomes a casual teen celebrity among the halls when he begins acting out in relative random outbursts. The outbreaks of mania result in a bonding with three classmates that champion Dahmer's ambition for attention and exploit his mannerisms for childish euphoria.

Being accepted as part of a group does little to slow the progression into madness that eventually ensues. As the marriage between Dahmer's parents dissolves we witness the unhinged neuroses of his mother played wonderfully by Anne Heche. Her manic attention to only herself fuels Dahmer to begin drinking and it's the alcohol fueled mindset that propels Dahmer to progress into darkness.

My Friend Dahmer concludes with the connection to Steven Hicks, a young hitchhiker who would become Dahmer's first victim. We watch as Hicks and Dahmer drive off but only a title card reveals Hicks' ultimate fate.

It is this restraint that separates My Friend Dahmer from its peers. Director Marc Meyers weaves us through a story that doesn't humanize the man who would become Milwaukee's most prolific cannibal. Nor does the film sensationalize the events to which Dahmer is associated. Instead, My Friend Dahmer focuses on what life offered a quiet outcast without any violent behaviors leading up to his first submitted impulse of murder.

And it's this glimpse into a young man's troubled past that propels My Friend Dahmer towards our strong film recommendation. The cast surrounding Dahmer's coming-of-age are exceptional. In particular young Alex Wolff who as Dahmer's best friend becomes a participant in a profile that would eventually result in horrific consequences.

Marc Meyers and his crew are able to flawlessly project the year 1978 around the characters. From the costume designs to the cars and music, the look and feel of 1978 is authentic. The references to the era may be subtle, but they are effective establishing the setting.

The challenge of making a serial killer movie interesting before the killer takes a life must have been daunting. But Mac Meyers maneuvers through the rapids determined to give backdrop to our subject. There are flaws. The film takes only a shallow toe dip into the homosexuality pool we now know Dahmer would eventually bathe. But the film doesn't try to sensationalize anything. It stays the course and easily becomes one of the better serial killer prequels ever made.
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9/10
Napoleon Dynamite of Cannibalism.
orangehenryviii9 February 2018
Originally I would have rated this film 7 or 8 stars but I had to bump it up to 9 because it absolutely haunted my memory after watching it.

It's the true story of serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer in his high school days as told by his friend who created a graphic novel about the experience etc. etc. , but that is not what makes this movie great although it is a part of the reason. It's just a gut-wrenching realistic portrayal of the horror of a young man not fitting in at high school and gradually losing himself to madness.

Primarily I would have to say the screenplay is brilliantly written, but the cast is somehow weirdly perfect, young douchy-haired Disney child star Ross Lynch just proved himself an amazing actor on a par with any of the best, still surprising although it shouldn't be, there have been so many Disney Kids who have grown up to do seriously good adult stuff now.

The rest of the high school cast is great too but who stands out is Anne Heche and Dallas Roberts in the roles of the parents. This is the best acting I've seen from Anne Heche. I've always thought she was an underrated and under-utilized actress capable of more and she brings the more here, and ironically-named-Houstonian Dallas Roberts is brilliant as the awkward dad trying to cope with his weird son (you will know him from the Walking Dead).

More than anything, the soundtrack is just absolutely perfect for the subject matter.It's not your typical period-piece type of soundtrack, just throwing out the Top Ten list from that year, it has some songs that you will likely only find on dusty vinyl in some dusty Rust Belt garage. Hauntingly obscure and evocative of the time and place, it's one of my favorite soundtracks ever.

On top of everything, this movie was filmed in the actual house that the real Jeffry Dahmer grew up in. It gives me chills just re-watching it. One of the beast horror movies I have ever seen, without any of the gratuitary violence or special effects.

This is a masterfully crafted film and sure to be a cult classic many years from now.
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8/10
A Star in the Making
gpride200917 February 2018
I am writing this review to shed a light on the amazing, masterful, Oscar worthy performance of Ross Lynch. As far as I've noticed, it is his first big screen performance, and he delivers. He is definitely worthy of an award for best actor. The way he portrays the character is so realistic, that I cannot imagine him being other than this in real life, in the sense that he embodies the character brilliantly. Regarding the movie, I like movies that leave you feeling a bit confused. Am I supposed to sympathize with him? Is that what the movie was about? There is no way to feel empathy for a person who committed those horrible crimes, but if the movie made you even consider it, makes it brilliant. Eventually, I realized that I was infatuated with Ross Lynch's acting so much, that I was actually liking him as an actor in that role, but not the person he was portraying.
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8/10
Not as good as I was expecting but still awesome!
lorcan-6188118 March 2018
My Friend Dahmer is a film that follows the life of a young Jeffrey Dahmer, a serial killer who murdered 17 males...(gulp) and basically this film explains how Dahmer descended into madness and how he became a serial killer. I was pretty surprised when I heard about this film when the trailer came out, I was immediatly like "Hell yes! I am watcing this" and when I watched it only last night, I really enjoyed it. I would not say the film is a masterpiece or anything but it was a descent little indie film, there is not much else to say, the performances were very good in the film but that's basically it. My Friend Dahmer is a good film, now, for Dahmer people who want to see an actual film based on him and know all about him, well now that I don't know??
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5/10
The Coming of Age of a Serial-Killer
claudio_carvalho14 February 2018
Jeffrey Dahmer was one of the most notorious serial killers of the United States. "My Friend Dahmer" is a slow-paced film disclosing his coming of age in the high-school. In this film, Dahmer is the son of a dysfunctional family that enjoys to study animal bones, collecting dead animals on the road. He is also a problematic shy teenager with difficulties in the relationship with his mates like many kids are. The screenplay is not clear but seems to show that the divorce of his parents and the separation from his closest friend might have trigged something evil in his troubled mind. But despite the good performances, the narrative is boring and maybe indicated for fans of the story of Dahmer only. My vote is five.

Title (Brazil): Not Available
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9/10
Dahmer Begins
kosmasp12 February 2018
This is not the Dahmer you may know. Not the infamous late part of him is what I'm trying to say. Most are aware of what this man has done and while I am generally against criminals/mass murderers/crazy individuals getting the limelight of publicity and their name known in the press, Dahmer happened a long time ago and you can't change the handling of the story in hindsight. The movie also can not change what this boy will become once he grows into an adult man.

Having said that, there is always that intrigue of watching someone and trying to figure out what made him go off the rails. Maybe just so you can tell if you see someone like him and be able to stop that from happening. But in the case of Dahmer it is a lot of things that make him the person he is. And that is what makes this movie so incredible and so powerful. The directing, the acting, framing/camera work, the editing, the script ... I don't know whom to praise more. Of course because this is not really sensational, it means it won't be for everyone. It is really slow paced and is more of a drama rather than a horror movie ... something I reckon people were expecting ...
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8/10
Loved it
jamie-224163 April 2018
Best serial killer bio this year. Great peak into dahmers early life.
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5/10
Tonally brilliant, narratively weak
Bertaut14 June 2018
Taking place over the course of Jeffrey Dahmer's last year in high school, and culminating with the faithful meeting between Dahmer (Ross Lynch) and Steven Hicks (Dave Sorboro), writer/director Marc Meyers's My Friend Dahmer is based on the graphic novel by John Backderf (played in the film by Alex Wolff), who attended the same school as Dahmer, and formed a pseudo-friendship with him. The film is tonally brilliant, coming across like The Breakfast Club (1985) directed by David Fincher, perfectly capturing 80s tackiness. Narratively, however, it's extremely plodding, and could easily have been trimmed by 20 minutes.

It's also difficult to see what Meyers was trying to achieve; other than a couple of brief moments, we're never given any real access to Dahmer's interiority, so he remains an enigma, always at arm's length (which could have been the point). But is Meyers asking us to feel sympathy for Dahmer because he had a difficult adolescence, came from a broken home, couldn't make friends in school. Or is this simply a character study (if we didn't know it was about Dahmer, it could be any number of examinations of high school awkwardness)?

The lack of clarity regarding the film's theme is compounded by the scenes where it looks as if Dahmer is about to murder someone, only to stop at the last second. This is an especially strange way to generate tension, insofar as we already know his first murder was Hicks. Also, if the film is actually trying to say something of societal worth regarding serial killers, directionless youth, nature vs. nuture etc, trying to draw an audience into the narrative with the prospect of murder probably isn't the way to go about it. The film also fails to really get into the issues of Dahmer's sexuality, and his confusion and frustration about being gay. It's worth a look, but if you're already familiar with Dahmer's story, you won't find much insight here.

5/10
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10/10
Great character study
davidantzelevitch7 July 2018
Super portrayal of Dhamer's upbringing. It shows that he had a very good chance of coming out normal.
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7/10
Read Glenn Kellys review on metacritic
bluecrystalnightbs29 March 2018
His review nails it, wanted to emphasize its a six movie with the writing and Ross lynch putting it into a 7, a must watch for me. Youll be hard pressed to feel more like your in high school from any other film. It has real eloquence and applause for painting the characters fast. I really appreciated being Able to spend most of the runtime in the Dhamer high school awkward fest.
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8/10
We eat our mistakes
nogodnomasters2 March 2018
Warning: Spoilers
This is a biopic of high school student Jeffrey Dahmer (Ross Lynch). Yes, he was different, but not radically so except for that one thing...he had the need to look inside of bodies. Rather than getting a job doing autopsies, he decided to teach himself the trade. The film was entertaining and the acting was suburb with Anne Heche capturing the neurotic mother who is border line crazy. We watch Dahmer slowly move from goofy, entertaining kid into the monster we knew.

Guide: F-word. Male butt and magazine nudity. It never shows Dahmer killing anyone. It stops at that point.
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5/10
We Praise the Unusual
thirtyfivestories24 November 2017
The Midwest is incubating a monster, and he's in every club photo. A slouched posture and taboo interests define the young Dahmer. Roadkill is his closest companion, and acids are his most trusted tools. A hunger for dark meat and classmate laughs, he stages spasms to build his brand.

John has watched Dahmer with a talent scout's eye, and he sees great potential. founding the Jeff Dahmer Fan Club, John perpetuates Dahmer's lewd antics. John aspires to illustrate comics one day, and chooses Dahmer as his flagship endeavor, utilizing the awkward gold that the future killer exudes.

Fishing twists into sinister explorations when Jeff reels a creature in, and animal traps feed a vacuous curiosity for the misplaced biologist. With a mother clawing into the household's fabric, and a lame duck father, Jeff loves both far too much and crumbles under the failings of his bearers.

A hunter in training without a trainer, Jeff is sloppy and overt. He spooks his first victims and broadcasts his desires in horn-rimmed eyes. Alcohol becomes the tether to reality, enabling him to traverse even the murkiest social waters. Jeff has no mentor for the science he wishes to pursue.

Meyers fails to unearth the psychology of criminal innovation. Relying heavily on pre-established lore and fanfare, nothing appears on the screen that shocks or entices further study. The cookie cutter high school friend plot might be factual, but it makes for an uninteresting lens on a rather interesting individual. No motive rises to the surface, and no transformation commands the trajectory of Dahmer's descent into homoerotic blood bathing.
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7/10
deep into the character of Jeffrey before his first murder
trashgang9 February 2018
Everybody all over the world do knows the serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer. This flick shows Jeffrey before his first kill. All seen through the eyes of his friend Derf Backderf.

If you think this is going to be a bloody serial killer flick then you are wrong. What it do shows is Jeffrey being an outcast at school and being found weird by all students. It also shows his family and what he does before killing. Dissecting road kill and disolve them with acid. Let that be what he did with his victims.

It's not a flick for the geeks of the horror genre because not having one kill they could be dissapointed. But on the other hand it do shows how he became a killer and what his so-called friends let him do.

It isn't a bad flick, it do goes deep into the characterisation of Jeffrey. The flick stops just before he picks up Stevie Hicks, his first victim.

Gore 0/5 Nudity 0/5 Effects 0/5 Story 3/5 Comedy 0/5
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2/10
Dull
rain-flower3 March 2018
So boring I could barely get through it. Maybe that was the idea. . Dahmer led such a dreary existence that his psycopathy was intensified. I also found it annoying that they tried so hard to make Dahmer's little loser entourage out to be these "witty cool kids" and Dahmer out to be some sort of Napoleon Dynamite (another incredibly dull movie) type character that you're supposed to relate to and have empathy for. I'm sure they thought they were exhibiting some fascinating realism, but I'm sure the actual reality was far more ordinary and far more interesting. I now have zero desire to read the graphic novel.
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The formative years of an eventual serial killer.
TxMike14 July 2018
I watched this at home on DVD from my public library. I remember well the news of 1991 when he was arrested and confessed to the murder and dismemberment of 17 men and boys from 1978 to 1991.

This movie mostly covers his senior year in high school, 1978. Ross Lynch really gets himself into a Jeff Dahmer mood, especially with his posture and movements. He is depicted as an outcast mostly, and fascinated with the insides of living things, or recently dead like roadkill. Yet still willing to act crazy in public places just for the effect it would have on others.

He wasn't helped by his dysfunctional family, with a crazy mother who divorced his dad during his senior year. It is hard to watch at times, knowing what he would become but it is a very interesting take on the subject.
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7/10
A slow-burn look at the early life of evil
eddie_baggins5 November 2018
Shining a light on the early year's of one of the most notorious and monstrous killers of all time in the form of notorious American Jeffrey Dahmer, My Friend Dahmer is an intriguing and stoic look at Dahmer's life as a high school student and repressed teenager coming to terms with his dark wants and desires.

Based upon Dahmer's real life high school acquaintance John Backderf's book of the same name, Friend doesn't look to offer hard answers as to why Dahmer turned out to be the vile killer he ended up becoming but there's enough insight from Backderf and director Marc Meyers in this film that it begins to paint a very clear and scary picture of a troubled soul that was allowed to turn into something far more sinister.

From collecting road kill after school, acting out in class and in a school environment to get attention and dealing with his parents volatile relationship and mental health issues, Dahmer lived a far from normal life that Meyer's showcases here in a mundane manner, that suggests Dahmer wasn't too far removed from help in a time that began to shape him into the creature he was slowly turning into as he lost more and more of his humanity.

Dahmer is played impressively by Disney graduate Ross Lynch, who on the basis of this performance should be able to break out of his Disney beginnings and forge a successful career.

Nailing the awkwardness and unnerving nature of Dahmer's mannerisms, Lynch does a fine job in a tricky role that acts as the foundation of the film around him, ably supported by the always impressive Alex Wolff as Backderf.

Those seeking in depth analysis of Dahmer's motivations or answers to his horrific nature will be left a little cold by Meyers film, but there really are no excuses, answers or theories that would ever come close to giving closure on what created Dahmer the evil incarnate and that's what makes Friend such a disturbing and often insightful film, its more everyday than you expect, nothing out of the ordinary that would suggest the evil of Dahmer would be a one off.

Final Say -

An impressively intimate musing on the early life of one of the world's most evil criminals, My Friend Dahmer is an intriguing look back on the beginnings of a monster that features an impressive lead performance by Lynch.

3 ½ backyard laboratories out of 5
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7/10
A bold effort to portray Dahmer's pre-blood shed years
hughrcarson25 September 2018
If the events chronicled in My Friend Dahmer, are in any way an accurate representation of the late teen years of Jeffrey Dahmer, then it would surely have come as no surprise whatsoever to anyone that knew him, of the awful scenes that were soon to follow.

Of course, the life and times of Jeffrey Dahmer are the stuff of infamy now and Marc Meyers' engaging film is therefore bold in its ambition, choosing to focus the lens of inquiry not upon Dahmer's eventual macabre practices, but on his formative high school years. Before the killing had even begun.

The obvious question that this therefore raises is whether such an approach in any way offers sufficient enough material with which to keep engaged a cinema-going audience - beyond the morbidly curious, wannabe mass murderers and trainee clinical psychologists, that is.

And the answer, on balance, is a resounding...yes.

Meyers' film is a sort of dark coming-of-age drama, with an implied gruesome twist.

Painted as an awkward and dysfunctional youth with something of a lumbering gait, the teenage Jeffrey Dahmer (portrayed convincingly here by Ross Lynch), is every bit the social misfit. Wishing to 'belong', but having little idea of how to do so, he is offered something of a lifeline in this regard when a handful of his classmates become first amused, then quickly obsessed by some of Dahmer's impromptu clowning about.

Dahmer is only too happy to perform one particular 'spazz' routine - as it comes to be known - on command, much to the mirth of his new found set of 'friends', who proceed to egg him on enthusiastically to greater and greater lengths.

But with a private life spent either dissolving and dissecting roadkill or drinking heavily - even at school - it is clear that such social interaction with his peers is but a thin mask on the face of the truth. Jeffrey Dahmer is an incredibly troubled soul, and any new-found 'popularity' gained proves to be short lived. It is not long, therefore, before he resumes his role of general recluse and social leper.

Behind every twisted serial killer there is usually some form of dysfunctional background, and Dahmer's - whilst perhaps less pronounced than other multiple murdering maniacs that we may choose to mention - is one which certainly will have played some sort of role in shaping the nature of the man that he was to become.

Anne Heche is quirky in her portrayal of Dahmer's depressed, anxiety-riddled, pill-popping mother, Joyce, whilst Dallas Roberts portrays Dahmer's father, Lionel, as a man often absent from the family home, who quietly despairs of both his eldest son, and his increasingly untenable marriage to Joyce, medicating himself with alcohol, accordingly.

Collectively the couple seem to have paid very little attention to Jeffrey, instead focusing the bulk of their love and devotion upon Dahmer's younger brother, Dave (Liam Koeth), even to the extent of fighting fiercely for post-divorce custody of this younger sibling, yet effectively abandoning a by then eighteen-year-old Jeffrey altogether to live alone in the family home.

If he was feeling unloved prior to that, this therefore would surely have been the tipping point. As it pretty much proved to be.

All credit then to Marc Meyers on what proves to be a fascinating piece.

My Friend Dahmer - based upon John Backderf's book of the same name - is an important and effectively realised insight into the mind and motives of a disturbed soon-to-be serial killer.
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8/10
Interesting little indie flick
ambermided15 June 2018
My friend Dahmer is a movie about the coming of age of one of the US's most notorious serial killers, Jeffery Dahmer. This movie thoughtfully portrays Dahmer's journey into insanity as we learn he has a crazy mother, that his parents are divorced, that his parents let him keep an animal lab and that his friends in school only talk to him to make fun of him. Dahmer's temporary friend group is very realistic, with Derf, although not always being right, still being very relatable.

This is a slow-paced movie which works perfectly for the setting of the '70s, and Ross Lynch gives a top notch performance of Dahmer, with Alex Wolff also giving a good performance of Derf.

The only fault in this movie is how they transition the narrative from junior to senior year, in the start of the movie, as they only show an incredibly short montage of Dahmer, that doesn't really indicate his grade is changing.
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7/10
The early years of the man dubbed the 'Milwaukee Cannibal' make for a compelling character study.
asifahsankhan5 June 2018
At first glance, Marc Meyers' My Friend Dahmer looks like another serial killer movie playing into our morbid fascination with these incomprehensible figures. Set during the months leading up to notorious killer Jeffrey Dahmer's first murder, the film seems to promise an 'explanation' for his actions.

Sure enough, Meyers faithfully reproduces known details of Dahmer's youth, in what can feel like little more than an adaptation of the 'early life' section of his Wikipedia profile. Raised by a mother with mental health issues and a father who did the best he could, Dahmer was unpopular at school, an awkward teen who chose to dissect roadkill rather than socialise with his classmates.

Things get more interesting when Dahmer abruptly finds himself with three new friends, including the easy-going John Backderf (played by the transcendent Alex Wolff), the boy who went on to write a graphic novel upon which the film is based. Far from pursuing sordid fame with juicy stories about the killer's youth, Backderf's work is animated by a need to grapple with a nagging sense of remorse: did his treatment of Dahmer contribute to his becoming a killer? Was there anything he could have done to stop him?

Dahmer's new friends do not appear in a particularly positive light. Their interest in him does not stem from genuine concern or sympathy. Rather, the weirdo attracts their attention when he simulates cerebral palsy in class, a disturbing joke which the kids latch onto as a last rebellious prank before college. They soon nickname this type of class-time disruption as 'doing a Dahmer.'

Following the boy, we are powerless witnesses to his frustration when he ultimately fails to get the sympathy he craves. His friends push the joke too far and then abandon him, and Dahmer's sense of alienation is a deeply relatable example of adolescent emotion. We've all felt how sadness can take on an existential dimension in the summer months, and when Jeffrey finds himself home alone in the middle of a warm afternoon while everyone else is preparing for graduation with their family, it is difficult not to feel his heartbreak.

But empathy has its limits. When Dahmer decides to turn his resentment into violence - and it is presented as a decision, not an impulse - we cannot follow him there. The pain we felt for his hopelessness becomes the sorrow of knowing that a kind word or gesture might have delayed his crimes, but not stopped them.

This profound sadness is the bedrock of a growing sense of fear, which reaches fever pitch intensity in an impressively executed set piece near the end of the film. After not speaking to him for weeks, Backderf offers Dahmer a ride back to his house, one last encounter before he goes to college and forever out of his friend's life. Almost unbearably terrifying, the confrontation restores to Dahmer the stomach-churning dread and misery that reading about serial killers often induces, but watching movies about them rarely does.

Although My Friend Dahmer does not resolve the impossible question of 'nature vs nurture', it approaches it with a humanity that is too often missing from such stories.
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7/10
A film for people interested only
jkresak10119 May 2018
I've always have been interested in serial killers and true crime. I've never really dove into Dahmer as much as every one else. This film though close to boring, was interesting enough to keep my attention. I liked the back story to the killer, the shots and acting were both beautiful. I would only recommend to true, true crime fans.
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7/10
Impressive acting
berbell-36-30149930 April 2018
Ross Lynch, Anne Heche and Alex Wolff were phenomenal in this. Especially Ross Lynch. We had recently watched Status Update and there's no way you'd know that was the same actor in both movies. His acting was so convincing that even though his character's appearance didn't make him unrecognizable the way his character behaved did. I'd have to remind myself who I was watching. There's a scene where Jeff is called on in class to answer the question why history is important and Lynch does this thing with his eyes and face where you see him recognize the other students laughing at something he said and did and how it gave him some satisfaction. A feeling he wasn't unfamiliar with. It was remarkable. He should win an award for this movie. He has quite a career ahead of him that I believe will surpass that of Zac Efron.
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7/10
Dahmer goes to High School
kz917-129 April 2018
Before the madness there were clues all around but no one paid attention. No one took action before the darkness reigned.

Haunting movie only too relevant with today's society of teenagers needing direction and help.
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