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Review: Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story

Updated: Oct 17, 2022


Trigger warning: this article contains graphic imagery and facts based on a real serial killer.

(Photo: Netflix)

On September 21, Netflix released a new series, “Dahmer - Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story”, created by Ryan Murphy and Ian Brennan.

The idea for the show was to express a more progressive view of the Milwaukee serial killer. Jeffrey Dahmer, a murderer who killed 17 men and boys in the span of a decade and a half. The titular character is played by veteran actor Evan Peters.

Don’t let the acting skills of Evan Peters confuse you for the real murderer, the handsome and beloved actor expressed how difficult it’s been portraying someone as monstrous as Dahmer.

"I was very scared about all of the things that Dahmer did, and diving into that and trying to commit to [playing this character] was absolutely going to be one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do in my life because I wanted it to be very authentic," Evan told Netflix.

The start of the series begins at the end; the final capture of Jeffrey Dahmer.

In Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1991, police officers spotted Tracy Edwards running down the street in handcuffs. After taking Edwards back to Dahmer’s apartment and speaking with Dahmer about the situation, Dahmer tried to explain that everything was just a “misunderstanding.”

The police almost believed him, until they spotted a few polaroids of dismembered bodies, causing Dahmer to be immediately arrested.

His apartment was combed and 15 other bodies were suspected to have been found in a voluminous acid that emitted a foul odor.

The series also includes a haunting phone call from Dahmer’s neighbor Glenda Cleveland who tried to warn authorities of Dahmer’s mysterious activities prior to his arrest.

Throughout the series, Cleveland is a constant fixture of the show, often seen trying to warn local law enforcement of the strange smell and odd activities coming from apartment 213 much to no avail.

Cleveland was one of the last people to observe Dahmer’s final and most horribly prolific year of killings in 1991, in an incident involving 14-year-old Konerak Sinthasomphone.

Sinthasomphone, dazed and drugged, tried to escape Dahmer’s apartment but Dahmer was able to hoodwink authorities.

Police and Mrs. Cleveland were on the scene as Dahmer claimed that 14-year-old Sinthasomphone was his boyfriend and had a little too much to drink that night resulting in a head injury.

Police left the scene after Dahmer presented polaroid photos “proving” that Sinthasomphone was his boyfriend.

The real Glenda Clevelands recorded phone calls with the police which are presented in the series after the explicit scene with 14-year-old Sinthasomphone.

Mrs. Cleveland repeatedly asked if the police knew for a fact that young Sinthasomphone was not a child. The Police had not taken down any names or information as they believe it was “an intoxicated boyfriend of another boyfriend."

Although it is not explicitly stated, the internal failures of law enforcement at the time were a key feature to the show due to the multitude of times Dahmer was almost captured, before, during, or after he had killed.

Cinematically the show ensnares the audience by motivating them to pay attention to the timeline as it jumps from Dahmer’s time in prison to earlier times when he met each victim.

The series expresses the thoughts of Dahmer and how he made his way to become known as one of the most notorious serial killers in U.S. history, but it also proves yet again how today’s culture is fixated on the true crime.

While certain scenes in the film can arouse feelings of sympathy for Dahmer, such as when he talks about his childhood, it is important to remember that a majority of the 10-episode series is devoted to giving a voice to the victims. Many of whom are often overlooked in most horror or thriller films.

It is important to note, however, that Dahmer’s moments of guilt or self-doubt during the series have proven a major problem for the families of the victims.

For reference, Wikipedia lists 20 Jeffrey Dahmer projects that have been released since 1992. By comparison, there have been 12 Batman movies and TV shows produced in the same amount of time.

Repeatedly the families have asked not to have another film made about Dahmer and repeatedly their pleas have been ignored.

The show’s production team has denied any efforts to exploit the surviving families’ pain.

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