Film Review – My Friend Dahmer (2017)

Title – My Friend Dahmer (2017)

Director – Marc Meyers (Harvest)

Cast – Ross Lynch, Alex Wolff, Anne Heche, Dallas Roberts

Plot – Examines the life of notorious serial killer Jeff Dahmer (Lynch) when he was in his last year’s as a high school student in the late 1970’s.

“I’m just like anybody else”

Review by Eddie on 06/11/2018

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

10 responses to “Film Review – My Friend Dahmer (2017)

  1. Watched this the other day. Agreed with most of what you said, though think you liked it a little more than me. The performances were really good. In the end I’m just not sure the film achieved what it was aiming for. Or even what it was aiming for. I never felt anything about, or towards, Dahmer.

    • Yeh it was quite a cold movie mate in that sense. I found it all really unnerving though, in a good way. Don’t think I’ve ever seen a film about such a horrible figure centred around the time they weren’t committing evil acts.

      • Yeah agree with you on the coldness of it. Found it a bit inconsistent or something on the unnerving front. Dunno. Part of it for me too was, I wasn’t totally familiar with Dahmer before I watched. I knew he was a serial killer. But it wasn’t til I read his Wikipedia page afterward that I realised just how full on a story it was. No doubt that would have changed my viewing experience (though not entirely sure in what way).

      • Yeh I googled him after the film and was shocked to be reminded of just how bad he ended up being! Made that last scene with the hitchhiker extremely freaky.

  2. I also reviewed this recently and agree completely, it didn’t tell you enough and I felt it was a little slow. Also Ross Lynch was great!

    • Yeh Lynch was a real win for the film, I hope he can get involved in some more quality films as he could have a very bright future.

    • A very strong little film mate. One of those ones that I feel has a strong reputation despite it not being talked about a lot.

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