"Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story": Netflix's Most Disturbing True Crime

Between the Great Performance of Evan Peters and the Anger of the Family of One of the Victims with the Miniseries, "Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story" is Getting the Attention of Many People Globally. What is this True Crime About?

Still from the series

Photo: YT-Netflix

LatinAmerican Post | Theoscar Mogollón González

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Leer en español: "Monstruo: La historia de Jeffrey Dahmer": El true crime más inquietante de Netflix

There is a particular phenomenon that is gaining more and more followers both in film and on television, and it is none other than true crime, which are those stories with serial killers as protagonists. Whether in miniseries or documentary format, this genre does not go unnoticed on streaming platforms, and Netflix knows it very well. "Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story" is the most recent and disturbing. Impossible not to see it.

Over the years, the story of Jeffrey Dahmer has attracted the attention of several filmmakers, who have dedicated four films to him, some documentaries and several mentions in different series. His case, beyond the popular, is one of the most disturbing of the last five decades.

With various nicknames ranging from cannibal to monster, the Milwaukee native was responsible for the deaths of 17 men between 1978 and 1991. He was not only known for that number of murders, but also for practicing cannibalism and necrophilia. In fact, among his criminal charges were dissociative and indecent conduct, and sexual abuse. Dahmer was sentenced in 1991 to 15 consecutive life sentences, but died in prison three years later.

Now, Netflix has been in charge of recounting how this murderer managed to evade justice for more than ten years. Producer Ryan Murphy, recognized for creating series such as "American Horror Story" and "American Crime Story", was in charge of bringing the miniseries to streaming with Ian Brennan. However, "Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story" is not the typical project that focuses on the criminal, since its perspective is through the lens of the victims.

The portrait of a merciless killer

The plot tries to unravel the figure of the psychopath during its ten episodes, and for this it has the magnificent performance of Evan Peters. The actor is getting all the applause of this unexpected success for his terrifying staging, to the point of disturbing the viewer with gestures and details that make them feel that it is the real Dahmer who is on-screen. We will have to wait for next year to find out if he gets an Emmy nomination for this role.

For its part, it is worth highlighting the work behind the camera of Murphy and Brennan. True crimes tend to go straight to the point with the victims, who are simply a bump in the road for the killers. But "Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story" is one of the few exceptions to the rule, since it gives them the necessary attention to also try to generate in the public the feeling of anguish and that time is running out.

Likewise, the script does not show mercy to Dahmer, nor to his victims, nor to the rulings of justice. Those who know Murphy's work know that he likes to touch certain fibers of society and show those who use certain privileges to their advantage to get away with it. Dahmer manages to avoid being stopped by the police by excusing himself that he was doing “gay things” in order to go unnoticed.

In short, "Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story" is a miniseries that has a lot with little. The atmosphere that is created chapter by chapter leaves you breathless, and in the absence of gore scenes or introspective analysis of the murderer, everything is left for the viewer to be in charge of using their imagination to fill in what is not seen on screen and that is understood. Never before has a true crime managed to disturb as much as that of Netflix.

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A worldwide success, but at what cost?

After its premiere on September 21, the miniseries about Jeffrey Dahmer quickly became one of the most watched on the platform worldwide. Such news was shared by Ryan Murphy himself on his social networks, who assured that the production had reached the first place of the top 10 popularity in 20 countries. And it is not the first time that something related to true crimes steals the attention of the public.

In that sense, it is worth mentioning that this genre has had a considerable increase in recent years. According to a study carried out some time ago by Parrot Analytics, a company that analyzes global trends, productions of this style had increased reproductions on different streaming platforms by 63% between 2018 and 2021. Of course, and as expected, Netflix was the one who led this data for its extensive catalog.

However, it is not all good news. "Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story" is told from the perspective of the victims, and that is something that the relatives of these have not liked. There is a scene, for example, in which Rita Isbell, the sister of one of the victims, loses her composure while giving her testimony during the trial.

"If you are really curious about the victims, my family is angry with the series. It means retraumatizing again and again and again. And for what? How many more movies, series, and documentaries do we need?", confessed Eric Isbell, cousin of Rita, in social networks. In addition, he added that those responsible for the miniseries never contacted the relatives or notified them, despite the fact that it is news in the public domain.

Likewise, Evan Peters himself asked his followers and other viewers not to continue romanticizing the murderer, and also to show empathy with the family of the victims. Social networks have been flooded with comments praising the actor and his character, a similar situation that Zac Efron went through when he played Ted Bundy in 2019. Hence, the importance of knowing how to separate both things.