Dahmer - Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story

Despite the goofy title and sensationalist trailer, my wife and I binged this over the past couple of days on Netflix, and I gotta say that this is darned good. It’s a Ryan Murphy show, so there’s definitely a focus on the gay side of the story, but it’s maybe the most subdued and grounded Ryan Murphy production ever. There’s no musical numbers, crazy lighting, or over-the-top camp. There’s a seedy, dirty look to everything and Evan Peters as Jeffrey Dahmer goes for a reserved, monotone performance as befits the awkward loner serial killer.

Of course, Jeffrey Dahmer is well-trod ground at this point, but I think this is the first depiction that really grapples with the way Dahmer’s homosexuality helped enable his murders by making conservative authorities and his own family turn a blind eye to what was happening. The fact that most of his victims were Black, brown, or Asian as well as poor didn’t help the situation and the show digs into that aspect as well.

The always great Richard Jenkins turns in a stellar performance as Lionel, Jeffrey’s father.

I watched this over the weekend. It was every bit as creepy and disturbing as one would expect, but really great performances from all involved.

I think the only false note of the series for me was the bit where Lionel Dahmer and the lawyer tell Jeffrey about Ed Gein. The shift to campy black and white felt too much like something out of AHS.