Whatever happened to that weird kid from high school? In My Friend Dahmer, the weird kid grew up to be one of the most notorious serial killers in American history. This film adaptation of Derf Backderf’s graphic novel of the same name looks at the life of Jeffrey Dahmer in his last few years of high school, where he acts like a fool to get attention and drinks heavily to keep the voices at bay. This story ultimately finds itself with one question: was it nature or nurture?
Ross Lynch as Dahmer is an absolute revelation, and the film itself looks great. For those who have read the book, this adaptation also has the upside of being from the perspective of someone not involved in the story, meaning that some of the more problematic elements of the book are addressed instead of ignored. However, director Marc Meyers (How He Fell in Love) does also take some creative licenses in other sequences, ultimately proving that it may be impossible to tell an objective story about Dahmer.
The strongest element of My Friend Dahmer is the fact that it is barely a genre film, making its inclusion in Toronto After Dark a bit unusual, allowing the characters to pretend to be in a coming-of-age film: in fact, without extratextual knowledge of Dahmer, a viewer might not even know who this child becomes until the very end.
While the film is slow at times, in the end, My Friend Dahmer is a worthwhile view.
My Friend Dahmer screens at Toronto After Dark on Thursday, October 12 at 7:00 pm and Saturday, October 14 at 11:59 pm
at Scotiabank Theatre.
For more information on the festival, visit the official Toronto After Dark website.
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