Blu-ray Review: Dahmer (2002)

September 9, 2020

Written by DanXIII

Daniel XIII; the result of an arcane ritual involving a King Diamond album, a box of Count Chocula, and a copy of Swank magazine, is a screenwriter, director, producer, actor, artist, and reviewer of fright flicks…Who hates ya baby?

Remember when mother fuckin’ Hawkeye played (literal) man-eater Jeffrey Dahmer? Yeah, me freakin’ either… but he did, so here we are!

The long and the short of Dahmer goes as follows: going out of his way to prove he’s no Willy fuckin’ Wonka, chocolate factory worker Jeffrey Dahmer (Jeremy Renner) prowls Milwaukee, Wisconsin, for young male victims to turn into brain dead (and eventually dead dead) sexual playthings.

Along the way, he reminisces about earlier murder biz, and his relationship with his pappy (Willard himself, Bruce Davison) who thinks something is off about his boy, but isn’t sure just what. It’s non-stop spills and thrills as we learn just what this serial killin’ scamp was up to before his ass got thrown in the hole forever and a day…

Besides boasting a gritty, almost grindhouse style (in terms of aesthetic if not on screen carnage) the main draw to this flick is the performance of Renner who manages to make a next-level psycho seem almost relatable, as he portrays Dahmer as a shy outsider just looking for love… on his own terms (which admittedly are not the terms anyone else would ever dream of nor want).

This leads to Dahmer having a major fear of rejection that results in  him drugging and fucking-up his victims six ways to Sunday, then experiencing  self loathing. It’s a complicated psychological journey, but Renner plays all aspects masterfully, and the script by writer/director David Jacobson infuses the proceedings with way more human drama than one would expect given the exploitative subject matter.

Speaking to that, as stated above, those horror hounds looking for a gorefest will be disappointed as the butchery is kept to a minimum… a bold choice given the subject at hand, but it definitely keeps us focused on the man behind the grizzly deeds rather than wallowing in the perversion of the deeds themselves.

As for special features on this Blu-ray release from MVD Entertainment (through their MVD Marquee label) we get a commentary featuring Jacobson, Renner and actor Artel Kayaru, followed by a making of featurette, galleries for stills and storyboards, and two trailers for the film.

Incredibly well acted and effective, Dahmer is a cut above most serial killer biopics, and comes easily recommended by yours cruelly!



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