My Friend Dahmer is based on a graphic novel written and drawn by John Backderf, a man who went to high school with infamous serial killer/cannibal Jeffrey Dahmer. This movie is interesting, but it’s not the next big indie breakout or anything. The cast is basically good, particularly Alex Wolff as the young Backderf. Ross Lynch is good as Dahmer, but not arresting. The film has a slow start and spends a lot of time on not much incident, which is kind of necessary given the setting, I suppose. There are few scenes that tip off what the movie might have been. There’s an astonishingly creepy scene of Dahmer visiting a doctor that he’s fixated on, for instance. The film doesn’t answer the question we want it to answer of course, which is what was it that made Dahmer what he was. Those questions will, I think, never be answered about any of the violent murderers we ask them about. This movie does a fine job of raising them and the quality is above what one might expect if seeing this same subject covered in a 90s TV movie. The performances are better, there’s more atmosphere and Meyer has some visual style. The film does lose points for absolutely nailing the perfect ending, even more the perfect ending SHOT . . . and then continuing for another five minutes. Honestly, I think that they had the perfect ending, but then they felt that they had to, in some way or other, heavily foreshadow what was to come and that led them to misfire there at the ending by tacking on a scene, the only one in the film, that feels kind of cheesy. My Friend Dahmer isn’t superlative, but it’s interesting; it’s a bit too slow, but it has a couple of moments that’ll send the chills down your spine; it doesn’t have many answers, but the questions remain compelling. 3 stars.
tl;dr – Jeffrey Dahmer’s high-school years aren’t fascinating, but good performances & some creepy atmosphere help; has no answers, but poses questions that are still interesting. 3 stars.