My Friend Dahmer Blu Ray Review (FilmRise / MVD Entertainment Group)
My Friend Dahmer is a 2017 drama film written & directed by Marc Meyers (Harvest, Witnessing, Approaching Union Square, & How He Fell in Love). It’s based off the real life story of Jeffery Dahmer before he became a serial killer. It was adapted from the graphic novel from John “Derf” Backderf. He was actually friends with Dahmer in high school in the 1970s. It was shot in Dahmer’s actual childhood home in Bath, Ohio. The screenplay for this production was featured in the 2014 Blacklist, a list of the “most liked” unmade scripts of the year. The film premiered at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival.
In 1974, Jeffrey Dahmer (played by: Ross Lynch from Austin & Ally, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, & Status Update) is a high school freshman living in Bath, Ohio, with his parents Lionel (played by: Dallas Roberts from American Crime, Mayhem, 3:10 to Yuma, & The Walking Dead) & Joyce (played by: Anne Heche from Psycho, Donnie Brasco, Hung, & Wild Side) plus his little brother Dave (played by: Liam Koeth). Jeffrey collects dead animals that he dissolves to the bones using chemicals provided by his father for his hobby. Years later, his father trashes & destroys his odd collection. He tells him to get a social life & make some real friends at school. He acts out & makes a fool of himself including faking spasms. It gets the attention of John “Derf” Backderf (played by: Alex Wolff from Hereditary, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, Patriots Day, & The Sitter) & his friends. Derf gets inspiration from the weird teenager & starts drawing him in different situations. The group of friends form the “Dahmer Fan Club”. They have him do all kinds of crazy stuff for their own personal entertainment. Jeffrey finally feels like he belongs to something & he doesn’t feel alone in the world anymore. He is obsessed with Dr. Matthews (played by: Vincent Kartheiser from Mad Men, Another Day in Paradise, Angel, & In Time) but he shows restraint on his dark feelings towards the stranger. He is starting to have family problems which makes him drink heavily. He notices that he is still isolated from everything after realizing his so called friends were using him. His entire family leaves him to be alone at their house after a separation. He has no one but himself now & he’s starting to lose it. He drives around & meets his first victim hitchhiker Steven Hicks (played by: Dave Sorboro from Weight). What has society created with this troubled young mind? It’s only the beginning for one of the America’s notorious serial killers.
My Friend Dahmer gives you a deep look inside some unfamiliar territory with one of America’s most notorious serial killers. The Midwest cannibal has been detailed in various films including 1993’s The Secret Life: Jeffrey Dahmer, 2002’s Dahmer, 2006’s Raising Jeffrey Dahmer, & 2012’s The Jeffrey Dahmer Files. He was even pitted against other know serial killer John Wayne Gacy in the 2010 fantasy feature Dahmer vs. Gacy! He’s had even more documentaries made about him over the years. Almost everyone in the world knows his name. His crimes will never be forgotten & this won’t be the last feature made about him. My Friend Dahmer probably disappointed a few people that were expecting a graphic slasher of his real life killings with gory & brutal visuals to experience the monster’s disturbing world but everyone had fair warning what it was based off considering the graphic novel was published years ago! It’s honestly much more than that & I really appreciate the direction they took for this project. We have already seen the other stuff in multiple films based on the later years of Jeffrey Dahmer. This is a subject & a part of his life that hasn’t been really exposed yet on screen until now. It shows you how this young man went from being a weird loner to a brutal murderer without having to show you the gruesome events.
It’s a prequel to his madness & it really builds up to what he became after all those problems. I am not surprised he turned out like that after viewing this. I’ve always been interested in true crime cinema & I feel like the back story is always rushed or ignored in them. That’s what I love about this film! It takes you further into the mind of a insane individual. It shows you how society can change someone without much notice. I am not a fan of Disney so I’ve never seen Ross Lynch act before this but he was perfect in this role. I was super impressed how he captured the real life Dahmer in this feature. That’s a big leap from his other work that he’s typically known for. Anne Heche was damn near unrecognizable in this. She really became Jeffrey Dahmer’s mother & I thought her performance was great. Alex Wolff played both sides of his character with a commanding performance. He went from bully who was using a kid that just wanted some friends to someone will deep regret that was trying to make stuff right. The other casting for this was just right & everyone fit in their role. This is not a serial killer film like some would expect. It’s a character study on what happens when someone is pushed to the wrong direction & never comes back from it. Jeffrey Dahmer had his warning signs & no one seemed to care until it was too late. I know it won’t happen but it would be amazing to see a sequel with the same lead showing his life after this. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!
Let’s talk about the high definition presentation & special features from FilmRise & MVD. This 1080p (2.40:1) transfer looks real good on blu ray & the colors stand out especially the outdoor scenes. Two different audio options which include English: Dolby Digital 5.1 & English: Dolby Digital 2.0 for this disc. Dialog is very clean/clear & everything else sounds fine, this isn’t the type of film that’s going to roar in your home theater system but it’s still a solid. It also has English Subtitles. It has a 3 minute “Interview with Ross Lynch”. The lead actor talks about his experience on the project. He says he had to take a long shower to shake off the character every day. He mentions learning alot from the cast in this. He chats about shooting the film at the real life home of the known serial killer. He tells you why you should check out the feature. Last but not least, it has some promotional material like “Behind the Scenes slideshow” & the official “Theatrical Trailer”. It’s available everywhere, check it out!!!!