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Review: My Friend Dahmer examines conundrum of nature versus nurture

Ross Lynch plays Jeffrey Dahmer in My Friend Dahmer.

2.5 out of 4 stars

My Friend Dahmer
Written by
Marc Meyers
Directed by
Marc Meyers
Ross Lynch, Anne Heche, Dallas Roberts

Think of it as portrait of a cannibalistic serial killer as a high-school senior. My Friend Dahmer, written and directed by Marc Meyers, introduces us to Jeffrey Dahmer (Ross Lynch), a lonely, awkward teenager on the cusp of becoming a deeply sadistic man. Growing up in a middle-class suburb of Akron, Ohio, Dahmer's family looks "normal" on the outside, but is a dysfunctional mess inside. His mother (Anne Heche) is mentally unhinged, and his dad (Dallas Roberts) has checked out. To escape, Jeffrey spends time in a shed, dipping road-kill into acid because he likes bones. He's a pariah at high school, until three artsy friends decide Dahmer's soulless stares and odd mannerisms are kind of cool crazy. His "spaz-outs" in the hallways make people laugh and, for a short time, the misanthrope fits in. But it's fleeting. Based on the true-life graphic novel by John Backderf (who went to high school with Dahmer), the film ponders whether Dahmer was born a sick puppy or if his environment made him that way. It's a conundrum. At least until he ditches his prom date to eat a burger in his car. (And you sincerely hope it's ground beef).

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