TADFF 2017: My Friend Dahmer

my friend dahmer

High school can be a difficult place, especially for those who don’t fit in, but what was it like for infamous serial killer Jeffery Dahmer? We get some insight from the film My Friend Dahmer, adapted from a graphic novel written by Dahmer’s former classmate, artist Derf Backderf.

The film takes us through Dahmer‘s (Ross Lynch) final year of high school where he is a loner. Introverted, with a penchant for animal carcasses, Dahmer deals with his anxiety-ridden mother Joyce (Anne Heche) who suffers from mental illness and the dissolution of his parents’ marriage. After his father Lionel’s (Dallas Roberts) desperate hope for him to be normal and have friends, Dahmer is taken in by a group of guys including Backderf (Alex Wolff), who create a “Dahmer Fan Club” after Dahmer has a spontaneous “spaz out” at school.

Dahmer becomes a gregarious part of the group, taking on their dares as they feed his ego with their admiration. He also harbours curiosity about death and his burgeoning homosexuality, suppressing them to look normal. When his parents finally split, a spiral into drinking unleashes the inner demon that would become one of the worst serial killers of the 20th century.

Marc Meyers does a fantastic job directing Backderf’s intimate account of Jeffery Dahmer early years. His film can be viewed as both a sympathetic look at a troubled youth or a documentation of the methodical development of a prolific murderer. Lynch provides a fascinating portrayal of Dahmer as he captures, what I can only imagine, is a snippet of the odd behaviours that Dahmer exhibited in his daily life.

Screens
Thursday, October 12, 7:00 PM, Scotiabank Theatre
Saturday, October 14, 11:59 PM, Scotiabank Theatre

Ticket information can be found at the Toronto After Dark website.