The Jeffrey Dahmer Files

Watch The Jeffrey Dahmer Files

"He lived next door."
  • NR
  • 2012
  • 1 hr 20 min
  • 6.3  (2,119)
  • 61

The Jeffrey Dahmer Files is a 2012 documentary-style movie that explores the life, crimes, and aftermath of one of America's most notorious serial killers, Jeffrey Dahmer. The film follows three different perspectives that revolve around Dahmer's life: the killer himself, the police who captured him, and the people in his community who were affected by his crimes.

The movie opens with news footage from the early '90s, showing Dahmer's arrest and the ensuing chaos as police search his apartment in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It then transitions into a home video-style shot where actor Andrew Swant, playing Dahmer, narrates his experience of committing crimes and describes his obsession with killing and dismembering young men.

From there, the film follows Detective Patrick Kennedy (played by Jeffrey Jentzen), a member of the Milwaukee police department who was involved in Dahmer's arrest. Kennedy recounts the details of the investigation and his conversations with Dahmer during the interviews. He then remembers the enormity of the case and how it changed his life and career.

The final perspective of the movie portrayed the people who knew Dahmer during his time in Wisconsin. Interviews are conducted with Dahmer's neighbors, former friends, and other members of the community who had contact with him. They recount their experience and how they felt about discovering that the friendly and quiet neighbor they knew was a serial killer.

The movie is careful not to glorify or sensationalize Dahmer's crimes. Instead, it takes a restrained approach to the material, allowing the viewer to come to their conclusions. The filmmakers do not focus on sensationalizing the violence, and neither do they indulge in voyeurism towards the victims.

What makes The Jeffrey Dahmer Files stand out from similar documentaries is the way it approaches the subject. The film purposefully avoids the usual true-crime genre tropes, such as over-dramatization, sensationalism, reenactment, or zooming in on bloody crime scenes. Instead, it shifts the focus onto the feel of the entire community, and how Dahmer was just an ordinary guy, from the perspective of the people who knew him.

The writing is restrained and gives space for the characters to breathe. Dahmer is not portrayed as a monster, but someone who was going through difficulties and trying to overcome them without the right support. The characters are the star of this movie, and the interviews are woven in a way that it feels like we're watching a mockumentary.

The movie manages to give a human orientation to a story that involves so many tragic deaths, and it does not play into the sensationalism that so often follows gruesome true-crime stories. The film also feels free of judgments, as it does not delve into Dahmer's past nor does it try to justify or empathize with him.

In terms of the visual style, The Jeffrey Dahmer Files has a grainy, VHS-like quality that feels authentic and grounded in reality. The style is perfectly suited to the format and the content of the film, adding to the documentary-style realism. The score is minimalist and haunting, reflecting the mood of each perspective.

The movie does not attempt to offer answers or explanations, but it manages to present the audience with a comprehensive look at the investigation, the community, and the killer himself. It's a movie more about the aftermath and the lasting impact of Dahmer's crimes than the crimes themselves.

Overall, The Jeffrey Dahmer Files is a well-crafted, thought-provoking movie that offers a unique perspective on one of America's most infamous serial killers. By focusing on the people around this story, the film manages to create a human-oriented approach to a dark and difficult topic. It's thoughtful, restrained, and highly recommended.

The Jeffrey Dahmer Files is a 2012 documentary with a runtime of 1 hour and 20 minutes. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.3 and a MetaScore of 61.

The Jeffrey Dahmer Files
Where to Watch The Jeffrey Dahmer Files
The Jeffrey Dahmer Files is available to watch free on Plex, The Roku Channel Free and Kanopy. It's also available to stream, download and buy on demand at Amazon Prime, Apple TV Channels, The Roku Channel, Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play and YouTube VOD. Some platforms allow you to rent The Jeffrey Dahmer Files for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 20 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.3  (2,119)
  • Metascore