My Friend Dahmer - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

My Friend Dahmer Reviews

Page 1 of 5
August 27, 2018
Stunning lead performance with great supporting performances too.

Genuinely uncomfortable but engaging watching throughout makes this a must see. Yet another example of when great performances + script trumps big budget CGI any time.
½ August 11, 2018
The only things that die in this movie are 1 squirrel and 1 fish. He takes a dog into the forest to murder it, but lets it go because he has a warm heart. If Jeffrey Dahmer really struggled "to make it through high school with a family life in ruins," you wouldn't know it from this movie. All we're shown is a mildly dysfunctional family life with an unstable mom and a caring dad, and Dahmer seems to be handling it pretty well--his slight obsession with roadkill is Nothing compared to what I saw kids doing for fun in Texas in the 80s. Very, very far from the out-of-control spiral towards madness mentioned in the movie description. Plenty of FICTIONAL films have already portrayed that madness quite well, so it CAN'T be hard to accomplish this with THE REAL LIFE STORY OF THE GUY WHO FROZE & ATE PEOPLE, OR DISSOLVED THEM IN ACID, AFTER RAPING THEM. If this movie was supposed to show the real life pathways that led to such horrors, then it failed completely. See for yourself, go ahead and watch it. Please give my condolences to the dead fish and squirrel, they deserved better. This movie was complete BS.
½ August 3, 2018
Taking place over the course of Jeffrey Dahmer's last year in high school, and culminating with the faithful meeting between Dahmer (Ross Lynch) and Steven Hicks (Dave Sorboro), writer/director Marc Meyers's My Friend Dahmer is based on the graphic novel by Derf Backderf (played in the film by Alex Wolff), who attended the same school as Dahmer, and formed a pseudo-friendship with him. The film is tonally brilliant, coming across like The Breakfast Club directed by David Fincher, perfectly capturing 80s tackiness. Narratively, however, it's extremely plodding, and could easily have been trimmed by 20 minutes.

It's also difficult to see what Meyers was trying to achieve; other than a couple of brief moments, we're never given any real access to Dahmer's interiority, so he remains an enigma, always at arm's length (which could have been the point). But is Meyers asking us to feel sympathy for Dahmer because he had a difficult adolescence, came from a broken home, couldn't make friends in school (i.e., to quote that great line from Michael Mann's Manhunter - "my heart bleeds for him, as a child. Someone took a kid and manufactured a monster. At the same time, as an adult, he's irredeemable. He butchers whole families to pursue trivial fantasies. As an adult, someone should blow the sick fuck out of his socks"). Or is this simply a character study (if we didn't know it was about Dahmer, it could be any number of examinations of high school awkwardness)?

The lack of clarity regarding the film's theme is compounded by the scenes where it looks as if Dahmer is about to murder someone, only to stop at the last second. This is an especially strange way to generate tension, insofar as we already know his first murder was Hicks. Also, if the film is actually trying to say something of societal worth regarding serial killers, directionless youth, nature vs. nuture etc, trying to draw an audience into the narrative with the prospect of murder probably isn't the way to go about it. The film also fails to really get into the issues of Dahmer's sexuality, and his confusion and frustration about being gay. It's worth a look, but if you're already familiar with Dahmer's story, you won't find much insight here.

½ July 21, 2018
Very slow and not very interesting
June 30, 2018
Based on a brilliant graphic novel, Lynch magnificently portrays the awkward human side of a young man's slow descent into darkness.
½ June 6, 2018
This movie did a fantastic job on creating Dahmer as a person. He grew up and went through a lot of what normal children go through nowadays but I think the main point of the movie was to show how he reacted to it, how there were warning signs. Dahmer was unaware that he was strange, he thought what he was into was not abnormal or psychopathic. When he finally gets friends, it's because he's trying too hard to fit in and they find it funny. At points, it seems as though they are making fun of him and they probably are. I think it's also telling that no one really noticed the warning signs, usually in that situation you don't notice the signs until it's too late. I also really enjoyed the fact that they didn't show any of the killings. Everyone knows that he's a killer, he's infamous. I enjoyed that it was implied, that these were the early years and what lead up to it and how no one noticed. The ending was my favorite, absolutely no spoilers here but I was screaming. Overall a beautifully shot, edited and directed movie with a few hiccups along the way (mainly the fact that if you didn't know much about Dahmer's story, it's not as easy to fully comprehend how everything in the early years tells about his future and also I wish there had been more to the movie)
½ June 1, 2018
Whilst the acting and the general production of the film is commendable, I can't help but feel this movie is a waste of almost 2 hours. It provides us with a visual aid for understanding the beginning of a notorious serial killer, but it does little more than that. Dahmer is dead-pan and relatively one note throughout the film, and although we are presented occasional scenes of Dahmer struggling with the emotional turmoil going through his head, they are infrequent and isolated. Rarely do we get to see the stimulus that provokes his episodes of distress, making these scenes feel somewhat halfbaked. It feels like we are only being told half of the story of Dahmer's psyche, and more of the film is dedicated to his friends antics in school than providing us with an insight into the young mind of a serial killer. Overall, it feels like this film promised to be more than it is, and I would not recommend it to anyone interested in Jeffrey Dahmer's story. Just watch a documentary on him instead, you'll be better off for it.
May 10, 2018
It was really engrossing and well shot.
½ May 2, 2018
3.5/5.0 stars - Grade: B-
April 29, 2018
Weird, dark, disconcering, the journey of an awkward teen developing into one of the most notorious American serial killers.
½ April 16, 2018
It was interesting. Just ok. Nothing soecial.
½ April 16, 2018
Strong performances and a haunting, unsettling portrait of a very disturbed young man.
April 9, 2018
This was merely fine, with some moments of brilliance.

Having read the graphic novel this movie is based on, I came into it with my own biases and expectations, so a lot of my problems with this movie stem from that.

While the casting and raw content of this movie are very competent and fitting, they way they were set to motion through Dahmer's story was a bit lackluster. Too many times it felt like the movie died down to a dry "we gotta have this moment here" scene that was acted out kind of lifelessly, and fit into the movie very rigidly. A sort of check-list feeling was created by these scenes. It felt like a major issue was the editing of all the content together. It rarely meshed well, even though it technically followed the graphic novel pretty accurately.

Another issue that held this movie back, in my opinion, was the lack of any sort of narrations or input from John Backderf's character in this movie. I mean the title is from John's point of view, and the entire graphic novel is filled with his thoughts and words to guide us along. Fitting narration could've done much to help this movie mesh better with itself, would've helped it flow better, feel more natural as a tale from John's point of view. His character in this movie would benefit the entire project much more had it been more fleshed out, and more prominent. As this movie stands right now, it feels a little hollow.

Other than that, and some other slight changes to the novel which didn't bother me that much, the movie was fine for what it achieved at the end. The acting by the main guy was great, felt like the nuances of a teenage Dahmer were shown realistically and faithfully. Good job by him.

The things I liked the most about this movie were the occasional moments of painful brilliance like during the mall freakout scene and the photo "adjustment" scene. Those moments managed to convey the entire thesis of Backderf's tale in those small moments. It felt good to see that message of the original graphic novel left intact.

Overall, I enjoyed it.
½ April 6, 2018
WOW! This was a great movie. I think you must have some prior knowledge of Dammer in order for this film to be effective. It was fascinating to watch and observe the different components that contributed to him becoming one of the world's most infamous serial killer/cannibals. The strange part of this movie is I felt empathy for him. I'm not saying that the movie paints him out to be a victim, it doesn't. But oddly you feel sorry for him as person, how would awkward outcast could wind up turning into a monster. The actor who played Dammer deserves an Oscar. His emulation was PERFECT! The only thing that disappointed me was how they left out Dahmer's spiritual beliefs. I remember watching an interview of him where he said he was taught about Evolution in school and thought to himself "well if there is no God to be accountable to, I can do whatever I want." Dammer also was obsessed with the Emperor from Return of the Jedi and The Exorcist III. He was a building a skull alter made of human body parts. Dammer would sometimes black out and he really didn't know why he did what he did. There's no doubt that he was under demonic influence, but I wonder if he was possessed by a demon.
April 6, 2018
Wow, what an incredible film. This film is where all other Dahmer films take off. This was all about the build up of Jeffrey and boy was it capturing to see it happen. I felt sad for poor Jeff, even though he turns into a monster. This film managed to make him sympathize with him. I felt bad because of his parents always fighting, and that he made a fool out of myself just to get friends. Man. Ross's acting was absolutely on point. The way he captured his posture and speech and all his mannerisms. Amazing. The filming was beautiful, Just an incredible film. I loved every second of it. Well done.
½ April 2, 2018
Watched it. Let me just say, I am a HUGE fan of crime movies especially when they are based on a true story/true events. Im not gonna say I disliked it but I didnt love it either. I liked the movie. But they left out a huge chunk of what made him be a serial killer. Would have liked to see more added to the movie then leading up to the point..
April 1, 2018
Really great movie. It doesn't have much to do with what we know as Jeff Dahmer, but explains a lot of how he ended up how he was. I loved the movie because it told a story that I didn't expect and I was engaged from the start to the end.
March 29, 2018
I didn't know about Jeffrey Dahmer until I stumbled upon this movie. Though it left out the horrid killings since it centred mostly on events leading to him being the criminal that he was, the movie certainly gave me a lot of eye-covering moments.
March 27, 2018
not bad, just boring and couldn't keep my attention even though it's something i'm curious about. plus it focuses on everything before he started killing, i was more curious about the details once he became the killer (1 viewing)
March 10, 2018
great thriller the actor who played dahmer was spot on he has a future he'll be big i Hollywood in a few years
Page 1 of 5