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Parents' Guide to

My Friend Dahmer

By Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Odd but honest portrayal of future serial killer as a teen.

Movie R 2017 107 minutes
My Friend Dahmer Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 15+

Based on 5 parent reviews

age 13+

Its super boring woudnt recommend but the show is just great

age 13+

It’s not bloody but suspenseful

This movie tells the story of serial killer Jeffery Dahmer when he was young. Don’t worry, it does not show his crimes (because it’s when he was young). This movie is good for people who want to learn about him. And it is full of the F word but it is fine for kids who have watched cold case files.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (5 ):
Kids say (6 ):

Written and directed by Marc Meyers, this biographical drama walks a fine line between ridicule and morbidity but maintains a humane balance, exploring a disturbed character in an empathetic way. In My Friend Dahmer, Lynch (best known for his Disney Channel show Austin & Ally) hides behind a mop of hair and huge, clunky glasses, walking stiffly and clenched, as if afraid of the very air itself. He gives a strong performance, finding the hurt, fear, frustration, and power that drives Dahmer to his ultimate fate.

The film's 1970s production design is incredibly effective, tapping into the era's uneasy meeting of establishment (Neil Sedaka) and rebellion (the Ramones). Adapted from a graphic novel written by the real-life Derf, the movie doesn't really capitalize on the "my friend" portion of the story. The focus is on Dahmer, and the character of Derf nicely avoids becoming a typical passive, observing "writer" character; he's more of a catalyst. Meyers also avoids cutesy attempts to tie the movie into its graphic-novel origins; there are no weird effects or comic panels. It's an unusual movie, but every effort goes into finding a legitimate center.

Movie Details

  • In theaters: November 3, 2017
  • On DVD or streaming: April 10, 2018
  • Cast: Ross Lynch , Alex Wolff , Anne Heche
  • Director: Marc Meyers
  • Studio: FilmRise
  • Genre: Drama
  • Run time: 107 minutes
  • MPAA rating: R
  • MPAA explanation: disturbing images, language, teen drug use, drinking and sexual content, and for brief nudity
  • Last updated: June 20, 2023

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