The Secret Life of Jeffrey Dahmer" (1993), "Dahmer the Cannibal" (2002), "My Friend Dahmer" (2017)... Several directors have already explored the life of the man known as "The Milwaukee Cannibal," who claimed 17 victims in the '70s, '80s, and '90s. Alongside figures like Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gacy, Henry Lee Lucas, Albert Fish, and Dennis Rader (alias the "B.T.K. Killer"), Jeffrey Dahmer stands as one of the most infamously known American serial killers. Cannibalism, rapes, necrophilia, dismemberments, and other atrocities were attributed to him, leading to a life sentence in prison.

He died in 1994, murdered by a fellow inmate in a Wisconsin prison where he was serving his sentence. On September 21, 2022, a miniseries about the infamous Jeffrey Dahmer was released on the American platform Netflix. This series, a genuine media phenomenon, aims to introduce this particularly dark, violent, and disturbed serial killer to a broader audience outside the United States.

While Dahmer is well-known across the Atlantic, he's less familiar to those who haven't delved into serial killers. Starring prominent actors Evan Peters (known for various roles in the TV series "American Horror Story" and as Quicksilver in the "X-Men" saga) and Richard Jenkins (seen in "The Visitor" and the series "Six Feet Under"), the television series "Dahmer - Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story" is a new creation by Ryan Murphy (renowned for series like "Nip/Tuck," "Glee," "American Horror Story," and "The Watcher") that has been incredibly successful. Surpassing "Squid Game" and "Stranger Things" in viewing hours, the series about this serial killer quickly climbed to become the second most-watched English-language series of all time on Netflix.

However, like many biographical series, not every detail can be included. Some aspects are skipped or briefly mentioned without being filmed. While aficionados who have extensively read about this serial killer may flaunt the unrepresented parts of his life or some morbid elements not shown on screen, "Dahmer - Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story" remains a highly recommended series.

It narrates the life of the "Milwaukee Cannibal" with precision, albeit with some minor inaccuracies that don't hinder the overall understanding across its ten episodes. This series doesn't aim to sensationalize. It refrains from delving into gore, disgust, or revulsion. Psychological terror takes precedence over physical horror. The focus is on entering the mind of this serial killer, understanding why he did what he did, and how he descended into such immoral acts.

The series includes flashbacks to Dahmer's childhood at age 6, prioritizing understanding over depicting how he tortured and dismembered his unfortunate victims. The initial episodes have a slasher movie vibe but refrain from excessive gore. The emphasis lies in portraying Dahmer's modus operandi: how he approached his victims in gay nightclubs, lured them home, and ensnared them, sometimes with varying degrees of success.

The first part of the series becomes dark, eerie, and tense once we are locked inside the cannibal's apartment. Subsequent episodes focus on the victims: Dahmer's direct victims (with grieving families and trials) and collateral victims, such as his parents and Glenda Cleveland, a traumatized woman living near him who demands justice and embodies the pain of the victims' families. The encounter between Dahmer and a handsome, deaf, and mute man in episode 6 shows a different side of Dahmer.

Love seems to have entered his life, hinting at a possibility of change. However, this relationship takes a dark turn, as Dahmer's attempts at re-humanization are thwarted by his deeply disturbed mind. It becomes clear that only the police can stop his actions, provided they heed the warnings (which, according to the series, weren't always heeded, as evidenced by Glenda's ignored alerts and a drugged young man who escaped but was returned to Dahmer's home by the police).

The series also delves into societal facets, critiquing law enforcement's shortcomings and exposing evident racism (such as the dismissal of warnings from a black woman sensing danger). The final episode beautifully concludes the series, showing Dahmer's life in prison and drawing an interesting parallel with another serial killer named John Wayne Gacy (alias "The Clown Killer"), despite the two never having met. The juxtaposition of Gacy's lethal injection with Dahmer's baptism in prison, set to exquisite music, is remarkable.

This series opts for a full reenactment, narrating a life without relying on archival footage to avoid documentary-like pitfalls. This technique enables immersion, making one consider that such a deranged individual could have been a neighbor. Evan Peters delivers a chilling yet enigmatic portrayal of Jeffrey Dahmer. The series revisits key stages of the serial killer's life—his troubled childhood, his parents' separation, failed jobs, initial murders, arrest, conviction, and eventual demise—still captivating audiences 28 years after his death. While some episodes may drag a bit, lacking pace, the series overall skillfully plunges viewers into the dark life of this tormented mind, staying mostly true to Dahmer's real story, albeit with occasional liberties or shortcuts taken by the writers.

The success of this series highlights the evident fascination many hold for serial killers—individuals detestable for their cruelty yet captivating and enigmatic due to their extraordinary, albeit heinous, actions. It's a peculiar mix of repulsion for their despicable deeds and attraction for their enigmatic, extraordinary nature, isn't it?

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