Biography Crime

'My Friend Dahmer' Toronto After Dark 2017 Review: Portrait of a teenage serial killer

October 16, 2017Sherry Li

My Friend Dahmer is a fascinating character study, and while it is a slow burn, each scene is purposeful and builds upon one another. Ross Lynch does a tremendous job of capturing the uncomfortable, increasingly creepy and unsettling persona of Jeffrey Dahmer, while still retaining a sense of almost youthful vulnerability.

Written and directed by Marc Meyers, the film (which also stars Anne Heche and Dallas Roberts) offers a sympathetic start, with Dahmer appearing as a lonely, strange and eager-to-fit-in teen with a turbulent family life. It’s a glimpse into Dahmer's high school life, one that isn’t normally associated with the man we know he becomes, and heavily foreshadows how he develops into his dark and disturbing future self. As the movie progresses, Dahmer shifts slowly, with his increasingly troublesome behaviors becoming more apparent and frequent.

We watch as he transforms before our very eyes, and it’s an uncomfortable, unsettling ride that’s worth the almost two-hour running time. Though there isn’t the kind of blood and gore you’d expect in a film about one of America’s most famous serial killers, it’s still terrifying in itself.

My Friend Dahmer is receiving its Toronto premiere at Toronto After Dark 2017.

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