It’s never a good sign when one character tells another “you seem healthy to me” in a movie. That almost always means someone is going to die of a rare disease, or in the case of My Friend Dahmer, fail to stop one of America’s most notorious mass murderers before he makes his first kill. Based on John “Derf” Backderf’s Eisner Award-nominated graphic novel of the same name, My Friend Dahmer follows Jeffrey Dahmer, who would go on to murder (and sometimes eat) 17 young men between 1978 and 1991, during his teen years.
Who could play such a monster? A Disney Channel star, obviously. Ross Lynch, of Austin & Ally and Teen Beach Movie fame, had no idea who Dahmer was when his agent gave him the script. But “I thought it was awesome to just be unpredictable,” Lynch explained. “Hopefully my next role could be something that most people won’t expect from me.” It’s a tricky role — if he overplays one of Dahmer’s attention-seeking “spaz” attacks, for instance, the film could slip into camp — but Lynch looks effectively reserved in the trailer, and reviews out of the Tribeca Film Festival were overwhelmingly positive.
Here’s the official plot summary.
Jeff Dahmer is an awkward teenager struggling to make it through high school with a family life in ruins. He collects roadkill, fixates on a neighborhood jogger (Vincent Kartheiser), and copes with his unstable mother (Anne Heche) and well-intentioned father (Dallas Roberts). He begins to act out at school, and his goofball antics win over a group of band-nerds who form The Dahmer Fan Club, headed by Derf Backderf (Alex Wolff). But this camaraderie can’t mask his growing depravity. Approaching graduation, Jeff spirals further out of control, inching ever closer to madness.
Pete Campbell better watch out, or things will end NOT GREAT for him.
My Friend Dahmer opens sometime this fall.