I had been looking forward to this show for a long time, so when it was released last week it only took me two days to be over with it.
Gripping, gruesome, graphic and emotionally compelling, Netflix’s Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story made it into the streaming giant’s Top 10 on the first day, and rightly so.
As it is the case with many crime TV series released in the past years, the series begins at the end of it all and savvily rewinds the tape to explain how mild-mannered and shy Jeff became the Milwaukee Monster, one of the most infamous criminals in US history.
Dahmer murdered and dismembered as many as 17 men and boys between 1978 and 1991, with several of his later killings involving necrophilia, cannibalism and the preservation of the victims’ body parts.
What is perhaps even more shocking is that he carried out his horrific criminal activities under everyone’s nose, mostly due to the blatant ignorance, incompetence and racism of the local police.
The show could be described as a two-part story. The first depicts the protagonist’s childhood, adolescence and early murders, while the second focuses on his later crimes, his arrest and subsequent court case, with particular attention on the victims’ families.
The whole series uses Jeff Dahmer’s story to define American society at the time, especially the social divisions that led to the indifference surrounding the disappearance of his victims.
Gay black men suddenly vanishing was not an issue for the police, and Dahmer’s sick but sharp mind was aware of this. There was no way a white man could be a threat to society and so the killings went on and on, undisturbed and at an alarmingly regular pace.
Unsurprisingly, the series points to a precarious state of mental health, which was later disproven in court, as the reason behind Dahmer’s actions.
Extra praise for Evan Peters, the actor interpreting Jeff Dahmer. Although not yet a household name, he is probably one of the most versatile and talented actors in Hollywood at the moment and, as far as yours truly is concerned, he deserves a lot more recognition.