My Friend Dahmer

Critics Consensus

My Friend Dahmer opens a window into the making of a serial killer whose conclusions are as empathetic as they are deeply troubling.

87%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 99

61%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 5,323
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Movie Info

Jeffrey Dahmer murdered 17 men and boys in the Midwest United States between 1978 and 1991 before being captured and incarcerated. He would become one of America's most infamous serial killers. This is the story before that story. Jeff Dahmer (Disney Channel's Ross Lynch) is an awkward teenager struggling to make it through high school with a family life in ruins. He collects roadkill, fixates on a neighborhood jogger (Vincent Kartheiser, "Mad Men"), and copes with his unstable mother (Anne Heche) and well-intentioned father (Dallas Roberts). He begins to act out at school, and his goofball antics win over a group of band-nerds who form The Dahmer Fan Club, headed by Derf Backderf (Alex Wolff, "Patriots Day"). But this camaraderie can't mask his growing depravity. Approaching graduation, Jeff spirals further out of control, inching ever closer to madness.

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Cast

Ross Lynch
as Jeffrey Dahmer
Anne Heche
as Joyce Dahmer
Dallas Roberts
as Lione, Lionel Dahmer
Vincent Kartheiser
as Dr. Matthews

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Critic Reviews for My Friend Dahmer

All Critics (99) | Top Critics (22)

  • 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.

    Jul 3, 2018 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • Isn't there something pathological about the way we privilege the pathological? If you can stomach the focus of My Friend Dahmer, you'll find this rewarding.

    Jun 9, 2018 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • There's a hint of retrospective guilt here and you could question Backderf's morals, and by extension those of Meyers, for profiting from telling a murderer's origin story.

    Jun 1, 2018 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

    Ed Potton

    Times (UK)
    Top Critic
  • Ross Lynch is eerily good as Dahmer, like a very young Philip Seymour Hoffman - stolidly silent, heavy-footed, incubating his resentments.

    May 31, 2018 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • Meyers makes "My Friend Dahmer" a convincing high school drama, but his portrait of the serial killer as a young man telegraphs Dahmer's future all too clearly.

    Nov 16, 2017 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…
  • My Friend Dahmer is at its most provocative when it considers this dynamic between the exploiters and the exploited. In making Dahmer feel like a freak, did the boys push him over the edge into a murderous contempt for all people?

    Nov 16, 2017 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for My Friend Dahmer

  • Jul 09, 2019
    A microscopic look at how a grotesque serial killer is formed.
    Aldo G Super Reviewer
  • Nov 10, 2017
    An excellent character story about a truly awful character. This is a very difficult subject matter to tackle, but Marc Meyers does an excellent job picking the right tone and frame of reference to study one of America's most notorious serial killers. Ross Lynch also does an excellent job in the role, and had a highly competent supporting cast. I suspect most people have a memory / feeling of that moment when they are dreaming and the austere sensation hits where their dream shifts into something more sinister. This is that moment before you fall, get caught or whatever nightmare you want to insert here. My Friend Dahmer lives in that space for a full hour or more. You watch this movie naturally tense, this sort of subject matter always starts with an uneasy sense of place and time. This film does a great job of sharing a glimpse into the impulses, motivations and spiral of events that molded one of history's worst. I think this movie really succeeds because it is not an apologist piece, a macabre stint into the grotesque, or the usual trapping some of these films fall in to. The film does not really revel in any particular aspect of Dahmer's life. It feels so genuinely real, and perhaps that makes it all the more impactful.
    Shane S Super Reviewer
  • Oct 01, 2017
    A very interesting character study that does a fine job building a nuanced portrait of a high school outcast prior to becoming a famous serial killer, and it benefits from some good performances and a nice amount of subtlety that is essential for a film like this to work.
    Carlos M Super Reviewer

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