Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story Review


Suzy Dawood

How should a murderer be characterized in a fictional account of the events? Over the past several decades, over 38 biopics of serial killers have been released, each depicting the murders and murderers in a variety of way. 6 of them focus on Jeffrey Dahmer, including the new Dahmer series on the TV streaming app Netflix. Directors Ryan Murphy and Ian Brennan brought Jeffrey Dahmer back to life by creating the #1 show in the US today “Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story”. Unlike the previous biopics, Murphy and Brennan create an abomination of the story by romanticizing Dahmer and adding all the unnecessarily gory details of the murders. 

The ten episode series followed Jeffrey Dahmer, played by Evan Peters, throughout his streak of murders and his childhood. Episode one shows his last known victim escaping from his apartment. The pilot episode attempted to hook the viewers to see how it got to that point. 

Throughout each scene the directors did a good job showing parts of Jeffrey’s apartment, along with the tactics he’d pull. Documentaries are made to show every living (or nonliving) detail, although this series is a biopic and not a documentary.

However, I did not enjoy the use of graphic details. In the previous biopics, most avoided the act of murder, instead focusing on the psychological perspective. Viewers knew what happened and did not need to see it. However, Murphy and Brennan followed what many directors now do: instead of focusing on the facts and crimes, they try to sell the show based on gore similar to the updated It movie.

Despite the money-making maneuver, documentaries that leave some of the details to the imagination are even scarier and more reflective for viewers. People need to make a judgment rather than simply witness the events and be impressed with bloody scenes. 

 Continuing deeper into the series, the directors used flashbacks of Dahmer’s childhood for about 10 minutes into the episode after starting with a murder. The flashbacks, however, seemed unrelated to the story line and made the viewer lose focus of the heinous crimes. Often, flashbacks depicted Dahmer fantasizing about mannequins and young men, commonly ending with masturbation. The directors seemed to be trying to say sexual deviance is a precursor of serial killing, which may not be true. 

When it came to Dahmer’s college scenes, he was characterized as a physically fit young man. The directors would have Peters be shirtless, working out, and lifting weights. Peters had a nice body with strong arms and an adapted strong chest. In fact, viewers shared their attraction to the character on social media. This unnecessarily romanticized Dahmer, making a murderer seem attractive and even someone to emulate. Some viewers even wanted the character to survive because “he was too attractive to die”; yes, he had fan-girls. 

The directors also depicted Dahmer as somewhat social as he commonly went to night clubs for drinking and dancing. Following the show, some viewers went to social media and copied the behavior by “Doin’ the Dahmer” by acting like him, dressing like him and speaking like him. When searching for “Dahmer Glasses” on the internet, multiple websites to order a pair show up, rather than images of Dahmer. I found this disturbing, especially after watching the episodes and finding young women romanticizing Dahmer and calling him “attractive”.

Having the actor “attractive” gave an insensitive feel. After a while the scenes would become repetitive, and I’d just end up skipping the episode as a whole. The series would pick up from past episodes and would follow back to when Dahmer got caught. Once he went to prison, the series became humorous due to other inmates and prison guards. One quote that carried one episode is where one of the jail guard was creeped out by Dahmer: “ F* you, Dahmer; should have given you the electric chair.” the guard told him. “I asked them to. They gave me 900 years instead.” Dahmer replied. 

Similar to the attractiveness of Peters, the humor again stands in stark contrast to the seriousness of the crime. Yes, humor can help people cope when faced with difficult reality. However, for the name of the victims, the directors should not have used humor to, again, likely sell the show more.

The thrill of the episodes ended with the death of Dahmer. Towards the end of the series, Dahmer’s dad viewed his dead body and sobbed over it. Although Dahmer was a horrible person, I felt sad for his father because he loved his son. Once again, this tactic pushes viewers to identify with Dahmer and his family. Yes, we can feel bad for his father, but no one should have pity for Dahmer after what he did in real life. 

The final minutes of the series ends with a list of the victims’ names—too little, too late. While a nice gesture, it does not erase the damage the rest of the film did. By romanticizing Dahmer, making him likable, humorous, and a person to sympathize with, the directors already showed their lack of respect for the victims and the abominable reality of serial killers at large.

In conclusion the directors did a terrifying job on portraying the life of Jeffrey Dahmer, not because of the actual show but by the strategies they used to make the film popular. This particular biopic ends up doing more harm than good, and on behalf of the families of the victims, let’s put stop to romanticizing them. 

Condolences to the families, and victims after poor light was shone on Dahmer once again, we wish to get that memorial that you deserve: 



  • Steven Hicks 
  • Steven Tuomi 
  • James Doxtator 
  • Richard Guerrero 
  • Anthony Sears 
  • Raymond Smith 
  • Edward Smith 
  • Ernest Miller 
  • David Thomas 
  • Curtis Straughter 
  • Errol Lindsey
  • Konerak Sinthasomphone 
  • Oliver Lacy
  • Matt Turner
  • Jeremiah Weinberger
  • Joseph Bradehoft
  • Tony Hughes