Jeffrey Dahmer Movie: Plot, Cast, Production and Many More!

The 2002 American horror thriller drama film Dahmer was written and directed by David Jacobson with David Birke as a co-writer. It had a constrained theatrical run and is based on the murders of American serial murderer Jeffrey Dahmer.

who murdered seventeen men and boys between 1978 and 1991 in Bath, Ohio, and Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In addition to Artel Great, Matt Newton, Dion Basco, and Bruce Davison, it also stars Jeremy Renner as Jeffrey Dahmer.


A reclusive and awkward socialite named Jeffrey Dahmer lives alone in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In an effort to create a living zombie who will never leave or judge him, Dahmer brings handsome young men home where he experiments on them and kills them. He is troubled by a difficult childhood and the denial of his homosexuality by his devout father.

Dahmer’s first murder victim was a hitchhiker he picked up in his hometown of Bath, Ohio, when he was a teenager, according to flashbacks from his past. The flashbacks also show Dahmer’s drunkenness and the terrible connection he had with his father, Lionel. Dahmer blames his atrocities, which in Milwaukee have included rape and necrophilia, on his parent’s divorce and his emotionally lonely upbringing.

Jeffrey Dahmer Movie

As the night wears on and the conversations become more intimate, Dahmer experiences an emotional crisis. Rodney confesses his romantic feelings for Dahmer but finds him evasive. At a knife shop, Dahmer meets a charismatic young gay Black man named Rodney and invites him home with the intention of killing him. Throughout their time together, Dahmer comes dangerously close to strangling Rodney with a belt, but Rodney manages to flee the flat.

The movie finishes with a flashback of young Dahmer attending therapy on his father’s advice. Lionel offers to always listen to his son when he wants to talk to him about anything before dropping Dahmer off. However, as soon as Dahmer enters the therapist’s office, he turns away from the door and disappears into the nearby woods. The following intertitle indicates that Dahmer was given a life sentence in jail in 1994 after serving two years of it and was found guilty of killing at least fifteen victims.

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  • Jeremy Renner as Jeffrey Dahmer
  • Bruce Davison as Lionel Dahmer
  • Artel Great as Rodney
  • Matt Newton as Lance Bell
  • Dion Basco as Khamtay
  • Kate Williamson as Grandma Dahmer
  • Christina Payano as Letitia
  • Tom’ya Bowden as Shawna
  • Sean Blakemore as Corliss
  • Mickey Swenson as Officer Phillips
  • Julius Branca as Officer Powell
  • Pierson Blaetz as Officer Martin
  • Lily Knight as Mrs. Dahmer


After reading an article that stated, “Dahmer claimed he killed those individuals because he was too terrified to lose them,” and after listening to an interview with Jeffrey Dahmer’s father, Lionel, on NPR, writer, and director David Jacobson was motivated to make the movie. The movie largely used both Lionel Dahmer’s book A Father’s Story and Court TV’s coverage of Dahmer’s trial.

Jeffrey Dahmer Movie

Jacobson contacted a number of producers in the hopes that they would work with him on the project, but many of them rejected it due to its obscene nature, according to the director, who said that he had “sent out a 4-page statement on how he actually felt about the picture, and what it was about.” Dahmer was created by Jacobson in under 18 days.

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Peninsula Films released Dahmer in a constrained number of theatres on June 21, 2002. It played in two theatres during the course of opening weekend and brought in $16,093. Five theatres were added on August 12, 2002, and the total revenue was $144,008. It made $4,227 in sales abroad.


The movie has a 73% approval rating from 41 reviewers on the website Rotten Tomatoes, which compiles movie reviews. Based on 18 reviews, the movie has a Metacritic score of 63 out of 100. 

Without depicting “any actual gore,” reviewer David Noh stated the movie managed to create “near-unbearable anxiety.” A 3/4 rating from The Christian Science Monitor was given to the “intelligently directed drama.” The movie was described as “a genuinely frightening piece of spooky art” by Variety’s Robert Koehler. The majority of reviews for David Jacobson’s documentary on serial murderer Jeffrey Dahmer have been unfavorable.

One reviewer called the movie “stripped-down” and claimed it lacked “crucial knowledge necessary for anything more than a basic understanding of Dahmer’s illness.” Michael Wilmington, a critic, praised the movie’s taste, intelligence, and acting but bemoaned the absence of on-screen sensationalism. It had a sensationalist vibe, according to Carla Meyer of the San Francisco Chronicle, and did not delve into Dahmer’s mind sufficiently.

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One critic called it “a horrible, numbing experience” that “doesn’t give any insights that haven’t been thoroughly argued in the media already” despite the mostly good reviews. A more candid portrayal of this serial killer would have been possible with a few more jolts of energy and grim comedy. Jeremy Renner and Artel Great were nominated for Best Male Lead and Best Newcomer, respectively, at the 18th Independent Spirit Awards, while David Jacobson was up for the John Cassavetes Award.

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