Reviewed byLarry-115Vote: 9/10
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.
Reviewed byorangehenryviiiVote: 9/10
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 going to high school in the 1970s.
Primarily I would have to say the screenplay is brilliantly written, but the cast is somehow weirdly perfect, young douchey-haired Disney TV 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 seriuosly 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 as Jeffrey's parents. This is the best role I've ever seen Anne Heche in, I've always thought she was an underated and under-utilitized actress capable of of more and she brings the more here, and ironically -named-Houstonian Dallas Roberts is just perfect ( you will know hin\m from the Walikng Dead).
More than anything, the soundtrack is just absolutely perfect for the subject matter, hauntingly obscure and evocative of the time and place.
On top of eveything, 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 , withou any of the gratuitary violence or special effects.
This is a masterfully crafted film and sure to be a cult hit many years from now.
Reviewed byhipCRANKVote: 8/10
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.
A young struggles to belong in high school.