Dahmer Netflix Series: A Dark and Horrifying True Story

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by | Sep 29, 2022 | Film & TV

The new Dahmer Netflix series has certainly caused a stir on the internet. How is this series different from all those that came before?

Jeffery Dahmer was a monster. This much I knew going into the series, though to what extent I truly had no idea. The latest Netflix series that covers the sickening atrocities of a serial killer, Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story is a chilling, heart pounding take on the evil acts committed by the shows namesake. The show’s suspenseful tone and its exploration on the origin and the nature of evil come together to birth a compelling horror show. One that will leave you mouth agape and glued to your seats. View the trailer below.

DAHMER: YOU MAY NOT BE ABLE TO WATCH

They say the first episode of a TV series is potentially the most important episode of its run. The same way a first chapter is just as important in a book. You have to hook the audiences attention. Without it they’ll simply find something else to watch, something else to read. There is no shortage of consumable serial killer documentaries and shows available in this modern age. However Dahmer manages to grab the audience in the first 10 minutes of viewing. Taking a man back to his apartment, the audience knows what’s coming, they know who this man is and what he plans to do. Yet the tension is allowed to build. We see the process of this evil creature’s hunt and ensnaring of its prey. And it’s utterly terrifying. 

Many viewers have voiced being unable to make it past the first half of the first episode. Some covered their faces and couldn’t watch, others stopped watching altogether. Everything from the impressive cinematography to Evan Peter’s portrayal all come together to create this unsettling atmosphere on screen. This is not a series you’d want to watch alone in the dark. While many documentaries and similar shows of this same style have been done before, they pale in comparison to Evan Perter’s depiction of the horror his character inflicts on his victims.   

Dahmer

DAHMER: UNMASKING TRUE EVIL

The show does more than simply retell the events of the past. It does well to delve into the mind of this monster. What drove this man to commit such unforgivable deeds? Was he born evil or was he made evil? What is the truth behind the mask that was Jeffrey Dahmer. The show covers all this and more, with Dahmer even recognising his own evil, unable to comprehend what drove him to do the things he did.

The early episodes of the series delve into the man’s upbringing and his childhood experiences which may or may not have influenced him growing up. The show in many ways covers the psyche not just of Dahmer but of his father as well. Lionel Dahmer it seems attempted to steer his troubled son onto the right track many times throughout his child’s life though never could have fathomed the disturbing truth behind his sons behaviour. We often see from Lionel’s point of view and offers a different perspective, one that shows a sadness to a father that ultimately failed his son. 

DAHMER: JUSTICE FOR THE VICTIMS? 

One thing Netflix supposedly intended for this series was to ‘give notorious serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer’s victims a voice’. In an age where true crime is a major popular genre, the focus is always on the killer themselves rather than those they targeted. While there is something to be said about the alluring intrigue on the nature of evil and our wish to understand it, it is a controversial topic to say the least. 

Many of the later episodes of the Dahmer series go to great lengths to flesh out the personalities and the lives of a few of Dahmer’s victims and a case could be made that the series does this well. It makes viewing even more heartbreaking as the audience get to know and warm to these people that aren’t just characters in a Netflix show, but were once real people. With real lives, dreams and futures that were all taken away from them. That provokes a reaction from the audience, we feel that hurt and that anger and we want to see justice done. In this regard the series should be commended for its attempt to breathe life into the people who left this world too soon due to the actions of a monster. 

Dahmer

FINAL THOUGHTS

There is unfortunately a flip side to this, as the show can be viewed as simply dramatising a story that has been told so many times before. Through books, films, television series, podcasts etc. The sheer amount of content not only covering serial killers but also Jeffrey Dahmer in particular is astoundingly large, and Netflix could be seen as simply profiting off of these stories. Stories that many of the victims families have no doubt become so sick of hearing. How many stories must be told of the same sick individual that destroyed the lives of so many? How is it possible to move on from something that is still being talked about 30 years later?  

A family member of one of the victims has already spoken out criticising the show for the lack of communication between them and the show’s creators. It appears as if the victims families were not consulted before the Dahmer series was produced which is a rather upsetting move on the part of the creators. While the murders took place many years ago the fallout of such tragedy is not so easily forgotten. People are still living with the trauma and grief set upon them all those years ago and to have the past dug up like this is sure to be distressing. 

While the move not to contact the families of the victims for permission was insensitive, I do believe the show does a superb job of honouring the victims in a way that most true crime series never do. It may not be perfect but it is a stepping stone in the right direction for these types of shows in remembering the victims of these terrible crimes. The dark and twisted mind of killers like Jeffrey Dahmer will always entice those who have an interest in the criminal mind. There is no greater insight told in such vivid, horrifying suspense than this series. 

Monster: A Jeffrey Dahmer Story is available to watch on Netflix. 

We cover many other Netflix shows on our site here.

Written by George Cooper

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