Based on the best-selling graphic novel by classmate Derf Backderf, “My Friend Dahmer” is the only portrayal of the infamous serial killer (Jeffrey Dahmer) that is both historical and thrilling. Director Mark Meyers has taken the first-hand experiences of Backderf and his classmates and turned it into a chilling synopsis of the adolescent life of a psychopath.
The questions raised by Backderf in his graphic novel are subtly hinted at in the film, but I found it hard to watch the story unfold without thinking, “Could it be possible that Dahmer might not have killed anyone if even one adult in his life had taken notice of his behavior as a child?” The thought is chilling, but the truth… we will never know.
The cast of “My Friend Dahmer” was chosen perfectly. It’s hard to believe that Ross Lynch (Star of the Disney Channel) does a perfect portrayal of a young Dahmer. The way he walks with his shoulders forward and his back hunched over, combined with the lifeless look in his eyes is enough to haunt anyone.
Among the all-star cast is Alex Wolff (Paper Towns). His portrayal of Derf is stunning. Working closely with Backderf himself, Wolff portrays the carefree attitude of a teen in the 70’s, while also expressing his concerns with Dahmer’s behaviors while attending Revere High School in Bath Township, adjacent to Richfield, Ohio.
The film, which mirrors the graphic novel almost to at, is possibly one of the greatest thrillers of the year. The unique perspective from the classmates of adolescent Jeffery Dahmer paints a chilling tale of what happens inside the mind of a psychopath before they have made their first kill.
I loved that the film was written from experiences of people who had first-hand encounters with young Dahmer. In his graphic novel, Backderf describes sitting down with some of his high school buddies to discuss the many times Dahmer would “Spazz out”. This was a side to him few people knew about.
I would highly recommend this film to anyone who loves a great historical thriller. Everyone knows the story of the Dahmer killings, but not everyone knows the story of Dahmer’s early life. The rest, as they say, is history…