In the 20th century, the United States had multiple cases of serial killers. Some commit murders because of their sociopathic nature, while others do it for fun. One of them is Jeffrey Dahmer, an American serial killer in the '90s who gained notoriety for killing his victims in gruesome and skin-crawling methods.
Though Dahmer had been portrayed on-screen multiple times before, Dahmer- Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story shows new perspectives - Dahmer's upbringing, the perspectives of his victims and their family members, and the significant flaws in the American law and justice system.
This 10-part miniseries starts with Dahmer getting caught by police for trying to murder his would-be final victim, Tracy Edwards. The police find photos of victims' dismembered bodies taken by Dahmer, his murder tools, and his sickening collection of the body remains as trophies. This incident stirred the whole country, and everyone had questions - why did Dahmer commit these unspeakable acts, and how did he manage to get so far doing them?
The show then depicts the childhood upbringing of Dahmer, his subsequent resort to murder, and his becoming one of the worst serial killers the world has ever witnessed.
Like every other criminal's background, Dahmer's childhood was problematic. A dysfunctional relationship between his parents, alienation, and a knack for dissecting dead animals culminated in his penchant for murder in his adult years to cope with loneliness.
Though Dahmer's mother, Joyce, was not present for him, his father, Lionel, tried to provide his best parenting but failed every time. Dahmer's upbringing was depressing but didn't excuse the monster he has become.
The show doesn't always focus on the serial killer; it also focuses on the victims and their families. Dahmer killed 17 people, and most of them were coloured, males. Every one of his victims was treated the same way - inviting them to his home for a drink, sedating them with the drink, and then killing them in the most gruesome way possible.
The victims were humans, they had hopes and dreams, and their families had expectations for them. One of the victims is Tony Hughes, whose story is the most heartbreaking. Tony was mute and deaf, but the disabilities didn't stop him from having high ambitions, only to become Dahmer's poor victim in the end. This shows how this serial killer impacted innocent people's and their families' lives.
Dahmer- Monster also focuses on the loopholes in American law and justice. Dahmer was caught molesting a teenage boy in his early criminal years but didn't receive the punishment he deserved due to the judge's racist nature towards the Asian victim.
Furthermore, Dahmer's neighbour Glenda Cleveland was always suspicious of his wrongdoings and reported him to the police for a year, but he was ignored due to internalised racism.
The most outrageous part of the law enforcement system was when Dahmer's 14-year-old victim escaped from his apartment. Still, the police officers didn't suspect anything and instead helped Dahmer get the victim back to his apartment. This twisted justice system enabled him to commit more crimes unnoticed in his later years.
Dahmer- Monster showed how childhood trauma, loneliness, and faulty law enforcement create a vile monster. Evan Peters perfectly portrayed the serial killer and made the audience uncomfortable throughout the show by being true to the killer's psychology.
Creator Ryan Murphy did a praiseworthy job portraying the life events of Dahmer as accurately as possible and maintained the horror element through subtle details. This show is a captivating true-crime drama capable of portraying the raw fear of America's most hated serial killer.