Dahmer dissection enthralls

Reproduced with permission by Daily Trend Center

Reproduced with permission by Daily Trend Center

Audrey Bartholomew, Staff Writer

I have always had a complete and total fascination with the macabre. There’s something about the capabilities of the human psyche and the innate nature of good and evil which continue to enthrall and disgust me. So, when I first heard about “My Friend Dahmer” last summer, I promised myself a seat in the select theaters it would be shown in that coming fall.

For those who don’t know, Jeffrey Dahmer was an American serial killer and sex offender who murdered, raped, and cannibalized 17 men and boys from the years 1978 to 1991. The movie, based on the graphic novel “My Friend Dahmer”, written by John Backderf in 2012, nearly 20 years after Dahmer was murdered in prison, details their teenage friendship in West Allis, Wisconsin. When I heard that the ex-Disney star, Ross Lynch, poster boy of American wholesomeness, the human embodiment of a Ken doll, would be playing Jeffrey Dahmer, I was skeptical. What possibly could a kid, attempting to break free of his pretty-boy image, offer movie-goers as the complex role of a serial killer?

I have never been so happy to be wrong.

Everyone will tell you that the first 30 minutes of the film is a coagulation of warning signs, and I have to agree; from Jeffrey frequently picking up roadkill to dissolve in acid, the reclusive manner in which he carries himself and the sinister routine of hiding away to get an up-close look at a male jogger, the audience gets a first-hand look at the systematic failures Dahmer was subjected to.

In attempts to drown out his home-life and repress his emerging homosexuality, Dahmer turns to booze to cope, developing a life-long addiction. It is after he begins to show up to school drunk, skip it all together, and drop his beloved participation in marching band. Sending him back into a deeper isolation compared to the beginning of the film, Dahmer expresses a desire to hurt others and to be intimate with men towards the climax of the flick, fantasizing about the jogger he has been borderline stalking since the opening scene.

All and all, Lynch’s performance of Jeffrey Dahmer was spectacular. The mounting calamity within Dahmer’s psyche is expressed with an innate acting talent well beyond Ross’s years.