My Friend Dahmer Made Me Sympathize with Notorious Serial Killer Jeffrey Dahmer

If you’re unusually fascinated with the psychological aspects and characteristics of serial killers as much as me, you’ll be able to recognize Jeffrey Dahmer without hesitation. Born on May 21st, 1960 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S. Dahmer committed various crimes that are far too nauseating for an innocent website like Caffeine Gaming. However, if your curiosity has peaked and now I have your attention, you can observe his victim sheet here. He frequently indulged in necrophilia, cannibalism and preserving the body parts of his victims as a declaration of accomplishment. I’ve observed countless articles, information, movies and interviews surrounding Jeffrey Dahmer’s life. So, why on earth was I sympathizing with Dahmer in Marc Meyers latest film, My Friend Dahmer?

Dissecting My Friend Dahmer

My Friend Dahmer directed by Marc Meyers is a biographical drama movie that surrounds the childhood of perhaps America’s most notorious serial killer, Jeffrey Dahmer. The movie premiered at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival on April 21st, 2017 and was released in the United Kingdom a year later on June 1st, 2018. The film successfully encapsulates the essence of John “Derf” Backderf’s graphic novel of the same name. Derf went to Revere High School, Ohio, the same high school as Dahmer. Where he and his friends would observe Dahmer’s eccentric behavior as he would fake epileptic fits and impersonate the characteristics of someone enduring cerebral palsy.

With this newly found fascination, Derf and his friends would invite Dahmer to socialise and the inaugural meeting of the “Dahmer Fan Club” initiated. Derf and his friends would encourage Dahmer to use his unique impersonation skills in various environments such as the library or the local mall, often paying him for his performances. Perhaps this was Dahmer trying to fit in socially or was he really just impersonating the interior decorator that visited his mother the previous day?

My Friend Dahmer Review - Sympathizing with Dahmer?
Dahmer impersonating the interior decorator

Ross Lynch’s Excellent Performance

Ross Lynch portrays Jeffrey Dahmer realistically, resembling an eerie comparison. Lynch even stated that he took extended showers to escape and evacuate the Jeffrey Dahmer character from his consciousness.

Jeffrey Dahmer suffered from numerous issues throughout his childhood:

  1. His morbid obsession with dismembering dead animals and dissolving their remains in acid.
  2. Overcoming the harsh realities of high school.
  3. Battling his frustration and understanding his sexual orientation.
  4. Comprehending the inevitable disintegration of his family.
  5. Combating his inescapable alcoholism to subdue his mentality.

Ross Lynch encapsulates Jeffrey Dahmer’s childhood with his performance effectively. Incubating his suppressed resentments, his introvert personality, his zombie-esque movement and the way he struggles to convey his emotions. Lynch studied Dahmer’s stature and mentality in an expert manner. Lynch, who is predominately known for his music career with R5 and his lead role as Austin Moon on Disney’s Austin & Ally. To recreate the childhood of perhaps the world’s most notorious serial killer is a substantial amount of pressure in terms of his career. Now, he is a main cast feature on Netflix’s Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.

My Friend Dahmer Review - Sympathizing with Dahmer?
Ross Lynch left. Jeffrey Dahmer right.

The Realism

Marc Meyers took the initiative to shoot My Friend Dahmer in the Dahmer childhood household in Ohio to enrich the realism. The film follows Derf’s graphic novel religiously, however, it heightens specific scenes to incorporate a feeling of tension. One scene in particular which is so bizarre to comprehend was when he went on a field trip to Washington, D.C. Dahmer and his friends are joking about meeting President Carter when Dahmer takes the opportunity to phone The White House from a nearby payphone. He successfully got through to Vice President Walter Mondale’s office and arranged a private tour. To think that Jeffrey Dahmer was in the same room as the Vice President of the United States is a surreal thought.

My Friend Dahmer Review - Sympathizing with Dahmer?
Jeffrey and the gang meet Vice President Mondale. A panel from the graphic novel.


My Friend Dahmer is a fascinating character driven story that provokes a sympathetic sentiment towards Dahmer. However, the movie does not justify Dahmer but rather illuminates his serial killer tendencies. Obviously, I’m not a serial killer fanatic that worships and praises these people. I just find the whole psychological and mentality extremely fascinating. It’s funny that I’m justifying myself here, I promise that my wardrobe doesn’t have a Jeffrey Dahmer shrine.

My Friend Dahmer is an exceptional insight into the mind and upbringing of Jeffrey Dahmer. It’s not a gore fest whatsoever, it’s an unnerving study. There is a feeling of sympathy as you watch him trying to fit into high school and the only way he can do is by being a “performance act”. However, Dahmer has recalled his high school days fondly, stating that he did have a good time. Then there’s the problematic family issues surrounding Dahmer. Drifting away each day as his mother and father undergo a divorce, ultimately leaving Dahmer alone to finally embrace his concealed thoughts. Reading Derf’s graphic novel and observing Meyers biopic are key to grasp some form of understanding of what shaped Dahmer into the notorious serial killer we all know about today.

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