Marc Meyers' My Friend Dahmer opens with a scene of two school boys learning some of Dahmer’s habits with animals and they are severely disgusted. Dahmer (Ross Lynch) would go in the shed in the backyard and soak animals in acid so he could collect their bones. After the children ran away, the Dahmer family has dinner where we see some of the tensions within the family. Jeffrey also has a rough time at school, and struggles to get a lab partner in biology to dissect a baby pig. At the end of the school day, he goes back to steal it for his acid experiments later that evening. Later that evening, his father became enraged that his son didn’t have any friends because of his macabre interests. Fueled with this rage, he walked in on Jeffrey preparing the pig, and screamed in his face about having other interests before tearing down the shed. Later regretting some the harsh actions, he decided to give Jeffrey an interest– weightlifting. To his dismay, Jeffrey does begin training with the dumbbells his father bought for him.
Perhaps armed with a new confidence, boredom, or the yearning for companionship, Jeffrey begins to act like a class clown after making a weird noise. After the class started giggling, he continues to make that noise and uses different variations of delivery for attention throughout the day and rest of the week. It gets him the attention of 3 boys who contemplate letting Dahmer into their circle. After a few instances of the new "Class Clown Dahmer", they ask him if they could run his fan club and become his friends. Dahmer’s dark side starts to take over with a vengeance though, when even the other kids become more terrified of him. One day in class, a girl asked him to draw her, so he told her to lie down, and drew around her body like a crime scene. Another time while fishing with the boys, instead of tossing the fish back, he mutilated it with a knife like he was seeing red. The boys grow distant from him while his parents argue and fight frequently in front of him and his siblings.
Jeffrey befriends a kid named Steve who is similarly odd like himself. He smokes, has a switchblade and a gun, and fervently devours his own blood. Jeffrey finds him refreshing and feels like he can be more himself around him. He starts smoking, drinking, and using drugs from Steve’s angsty influence. Jeffrey was also starting to figure out his sexuality when he went to a hotel with another boy, and having a crush on the male jogger near his house. He continues to collect roadkill like possums, nearly kills his first victim, a dog in the woods, and gutted another dead animal. His parents fighting led to a divorce where his dad moves away, and he later moves in with his father. The ending was just right for the movie as well, ending with him meeting his first victim, a man hitchhiking home.
My Friend Dahmer depicts only the childhood and adolescence of serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, written partially from the inspiration of the point of view of a high school friend of his. The film focuses on getting the audience to see Dahmer’s descent into what helped make him the monster we know of today. The turmoil in his family, his inability to fit in with other kids, and his fascination with the eerie work his father had a career in, were all just a few of the contributing factors. I believe My Friend Dahmer did a respectable job with raising awareness to the signs in childhood and adolescence to look out for, as well as showing the external factors that contribute to someone’s mental state or illness. It also shows the hardships for anyone who was gay in the 1960’s and how that contributed to a lot of his anger and frustration. I also appreciate the choice of the film location being at the actual location, which is Avon, Ohio.