Ryan Murphy, the co-creator of American Horror Story, has a new crime thriller on Netflix recounting the life and horrific crimes of Jeffrey Dahmer. And while the show is pulling plenty of interest, it’s also receiving criticism for a perceived attempt to romanticize the actions of a serial killer.
The show is called Dahmer — Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story, and it sees Murphy reunite with Ian Brennan. The duo also co-created Glee and Scream Queens alongside Brad Falchuk (who isn’t involved in this project). And as the name suggests the 10-episode limited series follows the murders of American serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, who is portrayed by Evan Peters in this instance.
This is far from the first time Dahmer’s story has been told, as there are dozens of documentaries on the subject. There's even a theatrical movie, My Friend Dahmer, which was released in 2017. However, the latest adaptation of the true crime tale comes courtesy of Netflix (which is putting on a huge live stream this weekend, so check out our Netflix Tudum live blog) and is generating both significant interest and a sizable level of backlash.
While the show currently enjoys a 91% audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and critics have been quick to praise Peters’ committed performance as the serial killer, concerns that the show romanticizes the killing of 17 innocent men have been raised. A tweet imploring viewers to remember the victims rather than Dahmer has amassed more than 100,000 likes.
#DahmerNetflix is out, let’s not romanticize Jeffrey Dahmer just because he is played by Evan Peters. Remember the victims. A tread about each victim and who they were. pic.twitter.com/3NAZpG40DqSeptember 21, 2022
The casting of Evan Peters could be partially responsible for the online enthusiasm surrounding the show. Peters is a highly popular figure on the internet and has attracted a very devoted following over the years. As the below tweet notes, it’s okay to praise Peters’ performance but Dahmer himself deserves nothing but condemnation.
It’s okay to praise Evan Peters for his performance, he is a brilliant actor. BUT DO NOT ROMANTICIZE HIM IN THE ROLE AS JEFFREY DAHMER. #DahmerNetflixSeptember 21, 2022
Concerns have also been raised around Netflix potentially profiting off the victims of Dahmer’s murderous spree. Whether the streamer has made any form of financial commitment to the families of the victims is currently unknown.
My question is @netflix who's getting paid for #DahmerNetflix ? Are any of the victim's families getting royality checks? Are they getting any benefits from seeing their family member's murderer being repeatedly romanticized for "TV"? https://t.co/l4Z4scfPflSeptember 22, 2022
There have been additional calls for Netflix’s Jeffrey Dahmer Story to be the last fictional adaptation of his life. Of course, the show is currently trending on social media and is highly likely to crack the Netflix top 10 in the coming days, so there is clearly a lot of audience interest in content about Dahmer making this request perhaps rather unlikely.
Let this be the LAST #DahmerNetflix #jeffreydahmer movie! He needs to be forgotten, he doesn’t deserve to be remembered and Hollywood needs to stop treating that pos like a celebrity.September 22, 2022
If you’re looking for a new crime thriller to binge watch you might want to check out Dahmer — Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story on Netflix (also, Murphy's got a new Netflix series called The Watcher that will debut its first trailer at Netflix Tudum 2022). By most accounts, it’s a tightly crafted series with a remarkable leading performance from Peters. But make sure to remember the characters on screen were real people that tragically lost their lives to a cruel and evil man. It’s important that we don’t lose sight of that in the name of entertainment.
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