Koshalieva Reviews New Dahmer Series

By: Aliya Koshalieva

Graphics Designer

TW: Sexual Assault, Murder, Cannibalism

Since its Sept. 21 release, Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story has quickly risen in popularity. Currently the most-watched Netflix show in the world, Dahmer, starring Evan Peters, covers the life and murders of the infamous serial killer and cannibal Jeffrey Dahmer. Peters draws attention to Dahmer after his breakout role in the anthology TV show American Horror Story.

Dahmer has received both praise and condemnation. Critics and viewers have praised the acting in the show, specifically Peters’ portrayal of Dahmer. Additionally, the series is historically accurate, with very few minor changes. However, some call the show controversial for not asking the victims’ families for permission. Rita Isbell, sister of victim Errol Lindsey, said that Netflix never contacted her about the show and said she felt “retraumatized” by the show in an essay written for The Insider. 

Further controversy arose when viewers found the show under the LGBTQ tag; they felt anger as they said this was the wrong type of representation. On Sept. 23, Netflix removed the LGBTQ tag from Dahmer. The current tags are Crime TV shows, Social Issue TV Dramas, etc. 

Dahmer also features the actual polaroids taken by Dahmer with no warning. After watching Dahmer and seeing the real polaroids, I couldn’t sleep for two days. I almost threw my computer out the window when I saw them again. The events in the show had me covering my mouth with my hand and nearly throwing up. One of the scenes that stands out showcases 14-year-old Konerak Sinthasomphone,Dahmer’s youngest victim, who went to Dahmer’s apartment only because his family needed the money. I sat there by myself at three in the morning, gagging and sobbing while watching what happened to him. I found myself shaking in anger when Sinthasomphone escaped, but was returned to Dahmer’s apartment. The neighbors complained about the noises and smell coming from Dahmer’s apartment, but nothing was done. It made my blood boil knowing that the police failed Konerak and Dahmer’s other victims. At the end of the episode, I had to lie down and stare at the ceiling to process what I had watched. 

Dahmer provokes a roller coaster of emotions in the viewer. I felt fear (of Dahmer) and guilt (for watching this without the families’ consent). I questioned all of my life choices when I laughed at one of Dahmer’s jokes. The acting was so good yet disturbing that I went through grief stages during each episode. Evan Peters embodies Dahmer incredibly accurately as he nails his mannerisms and accent. I rate it a six out of ten for factuality, acting, and plot; however, the gore was excessive, and the production immoral. I would give it a higher rating if this was a fictional show, but because of the controversy surrounding this show it earns a lower score. Even if it had the families’ consent, I would still feel uncomfortable about this show. (Sources: Netflix, Vanity Fair, The Insider)

Categories: Culture

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