How The Jeffrey Dahmer Series Redefines True Crime

Netflix released an absolute nightmare with its new series about the serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, and elevates True Crime shows to a whole new level.

Monster: Dahmer Series
Don't go home with weird white guys, kids. | © Netflix

I don't know about you guys and girls, but I'm an absolute sucker for a good horror show. Dahmer - Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story might not actually be a horror show, but it is definitely horrifying! I mean, true crime is most of the time scarier than horror movies anyway, because that sh*t actually happened.

Jeffrey Dahmer: How To Traumatize An Audience

I'm still watching the series and I have to say, it is one of the most unnerving shows I have ever seen. I've had nightmares because of this show! The horrible, awkward title is already nightmare fuel, but Evan Peters' portrayal of Jeffrey Dahmer is just ... next level.

There have been a boatload of adaptations of and shows about the Jeffrey Dahmer story, but this one, is not just another telling of the story. The way they combine the true crime elements with the storytelling of a TV series elevates the show to a whole new level. You know that everything that happens is real, it really happened, which just makes it all the more tragic.

On the other hand, they are able to tell the story in a way a simple documentary wouldn't be able to. I felt for the characters, the families of his victims, his victims, in a way I wouldn't have in a documentary. Why? Because I have seen their Journey. In a way, I've been there in those tense moments, rooting for them to make it out alive. Which most of the time left me devastated at the end of it.

For more skin crawling horror, if you're up for it:

Evan Peters manages to bring a reasonable amount of humanity to the monster that was Jeffrey Dahmer, without in any way excusing his murders. We are simply introduced to its circumstances.

People are actually critiquing that the show makes you root for Dahmer, but that's not the intention of the show. At least, I don't think it is. You don't root for him to get away with murder, you root for him to not do it, to not kill those people. To regain his humanity.

Needless to say, that didn't happen. It's already happened folks, so that's not a spoiler! It's well known he killed all those people. The show just provides you with the context of why he did, what he did.

Not like we're going to include him in a list like this here:

The show's writing is simply great. It builds a lot of tension in a very subtle manner, like a head in the background they don't zoom in on. I mean, the first episode is just pure tension. And all that, without too much gore. I mean, there is a gory imagery, but they don't show the dissections and don't dwell on it for too long.

Seems this entry got some serious competition:

The show seems well aware of the fact, that there have been, and still are, real people suffering from the aftereffects of Dahmer's actions. They refrain from capitalizing on the shock factor, by not showing what happens to the victims. All you get as a viewer are the scenes, where Glenda Cleveland, Jeff's neighbor, hears and smells the consequences of his deranged actions.

I guess, if you do a show like this, you have to at least show something gory. But I think the show runners did a great job treading the line between being disrespectful of the victims and potentially losing the feeling of authenticity.

Speaking of authentic, from what I've seen, they pretty much reconstructed Dahmer's apartment perfectly. Talk about paying attention to detail.

I guess we can't expect this repsect for the source material from everybody:

And to the people who say the show makes you root for Jeffrey Dahmer, have you seen episode 6 onwards? That sh*t broke me! You really get a deep dive into the life of his victims, their families, his family. That's where the show moves away from Dahmer, towards the people around him, whose life he destroyed.

This show also does a great job addressing the systems that failed the victims. Which btw still fails victims today.

All in all, I really think this series takes the story and does something special with it. The blend of true crime, with the strengths of fictional storytelling, which a series format provides, elevates this series to a whole nother level of unnerving and horrifying.