Friday, January 29, 2010



It isn't a secret that I have an interest in true crime, and serial killers. Now that interest lies in that I am fascinated with the terrible acts people do, how terrifying these things are, it just boggles the mind how people can do the things they do. And what happens in real life is more frightening then anything you will find in fiction. Which leads me to this film, Dahmer. Obviously this is about the serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer who was as sick and sadistic as they come. Judging by the cover you'd expect this film to be some sick film exploiting the murders he did. However it is not like that at all, this is not the typical serial killer direct to DVD effort.

Dahmer does tell a story about Jeffrey Dahmer, but this film attempts to give a face to the man. This does not show the side of him which murders and eats his victims, this shows a man who clearly has been confused a lot of his life. He has urges different then everyone else and he cannot bring himself to satisfy those urges without doing the wrong thing. He is a man who is full of self loathing, he can't please his parents and his grandmother seems to be the only one who cares at least a little. Dahmer comes off as a quiet man, a shy man, he has trouble talking to others. He lures his victims in, and he drugs them, he can't bring himself to be with them unless they are unconscious. This is explorer more via flashbacks as he figures out his homosexual urges and can't sexually be with them unless they are unconscious.

There isn't much of a plot to speak of, this film is done via showing Dahmer during his reign of capturing victims and flashes back to different points in his life (his first murder is one) and maybe what led him to do what he did. The cannibalism is not explorer what so ever and it is strange they mention it on the cover. This film works because of the casting, Jeremy Renner is simply flawless as Dahmer. He brings a strange innocence to the character while remaining creepy and terrifying at the same time. At first it was a bit difficult to accept him playing this monster as he truly looks so adorable at times, but the way he actually goes about portraying Dahmer makes you look passed that. In a lot of cases serial killers (murderers) look like the person next door and that really worked here. You could believe he managed to lure these men back to his apartment, and then take control of that situation. Renner shows what a strong and capable actor he is, and if you are a fan of his this film is a must see.

This is a different entry into the serial killer sub genre, as it tries to show a different side to a monster and it isn't typical. I can't remember if this film was covered in the book I read Celluloid Serial Killers, but I would say it is a must see for something different. I thought for the most part this had a really decent script, some scenes come off really well and show what they need to. The direction is really good too, I was impressed with David Jacobson's work here. This is an above average direct to DVD effort, with strong performances and leaving out that exploitation element. I do believe that was a smart move for the story they wanted to tell.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great review. Jeremy Renner does an amazing job in this film.

I'm pretty sure Dahmer was not a direct to DVD release. It had a limited theatrical run in NYC, LA and San Francisco. I remember because I saw it at the Embarcadero in San Francisco in 2002 or 2003.