DAHMER: Is the series too scary?

DAHMER: Is the series too scary?
DAHMER: Is the Netflix series too scary?

Ryan Murphy’s new series on is ​​the shock of the start of the school year. DAHMER- Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Storyreturning to the sordid story of one of the most terrible serial killer having acted in the United States, in fact makes the spectators react a lot, but also the families of the victims. It must be said that the performance of Evan Peters and the raw realism of the murders cannot leave you indifferent… But is the series too frightening for all that?

He got us used to shock programs. With American Horror Story then American Crime Story, Ryan Murphy takes malicious pleasure in plunging the spectators into uncomfortable situations, perfectly balancing the sordid and the bling-bling, and exposing “the hidden face of America”, without being afraid to approach supernatural aspects (vampires, witches and ghosts appear in almost every season). But his new production, DAHMER – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmerwith a slightly too long title and which we will therefore simply call DAHMER in the rest of the article, is perhaps the most terrifying to date. And for good reason: his treatment is ultra-realistic, because it is based on real facts.

DAHMER finally well received by the spectators?

Found on the poster of DAHMER actor Evan Peters, muse among the many muses of Ryan Murphy, with Sarah Paulson, Emma Roberts (with whom he was in a relationship for a long time), Jessica Lange, Cory Fern or Finn Wittrock. Present from the first season ofAmerican Horror Storyand returning regularly in the following ones, he was also seen by the general public as Quicksilver in the films X-Men. But a new stage in his career has undoubtedly just been reached, with his particularly disturbing performance in DAHMER. Because he got into his character perfectly, which is exactly what you expect from a talented actor. The problem for many spectators is above all that he embodies Jeffrey Dahmer, a serial killer who really existed, and who also used to get into people’s shoes, but not to play a role, unfortunately…

Alcoholic, killer, rapist, necrophiliac and cannibal: here is the charming portrait of Jeffrey Dahmer, whose series DAHMER retraces life. A list to which we could add racism, since he took care to target mainly racialized victims, often black, to play on the total disinterest of the American police for these populations. What we see in scenes at least as frightening as those of the murders.

We therefore discover Evan Peters playing Jeffrey Dahmer in the first episode, in 1991, when he was 31 years old, and had just brought a man home. And we quickly understand, like the victim, that it will not only be, as he had made believe, to take photos. There is indeed a nauseating smell in the apartment, we see Dahmer put something in the beer he serves to his guest, who tries to leave, and finds himself handcuffed. Oh, and a small detail: there are bloodstains on the mattress of his bed, and a huge canister from which the foul smell seems to emanate. And Jeffrey threatens Tracy Edwards, that’s her name, with a knife, to force her to watch her favorite movie with him, The Exorcist, sequel, which he says he views once a day. We won’t tell you more so as not to spoil you, but this episode marks the beginning of the end, and serves to introduce us to this monster at the end of its journey, before its whole life is retraced, from childhood, to show how this disturbed child could become such a monster. But to find out, you have to go beyond the first episode, which for many viewers seems to have been a real test…

If some and some have given up, many seem to have continued their viewing of the series. DAHMER was the most-watched Netflix program the week of its launch on September 21, with the streaming platform announcing that its shocking new series had been watched over 196 million hours (the highest audience since season 4 of Stranger Things), and ranked in the Top 10 of 92 countries. What those numbers don’t tell us is how many people weren’t able to go through with it, because seeing these murders being committed on screen, in an incredibly realistic way, is absolutely chilling and can hurt sensibilities. . It should also be remembered that the series is not recommended for those under 18, and that checking whether parental controls are activated on your Netflix account can be essential, while the series is making a lot of noise at the moment. , as Squid Game last year, which was viewed by far too many children.

Families of victims shocked by Netflix series

If some viewers had trouble watching DAHMER, the success of the series seems to confirm that it is certainly scary, but not enough to be unwatchable. But this card poses another problem, this time for the families of the victims. Because many critics criticize the series for “featuring” the murderer, and for not mentioning the victims enough. This is what is said in particular in an article by vulnerabilitytaken back by International mailin which it is written that the series would have done better to “focus primarily on the people who suffered from Dahmer, rather than the cannibalistic monster and his atrocities”. An opinion which is joined by Rita Isbell, the sister of Errol Lindsey, one of the 17 victims of Jeffrey Dahmer. In an interview with Insider, she does not regret appearing in the series, being played by actress DaShawn Barnes, but regrets not having been consulted. Too bad, knowing that her intervention is memorable: when she had prepared a text to explain the consequences of her brother’s murder for her and her mother, she had exploded, and improvised a shocking statement, after having understood by watching Dahmer in the eyes that he was absolute evil. A key sequence, which once again shows all the realism of the series:

In this interview, Rita Isbell therefore regrets not having been informed of the filming of the series, nor of having been consulted, whereas seeing the facts again exposed in such a media way inevitably makes her relive these tragic moments. “I was never contacted about the show. I think Netflix should have asked us if we mind or how we feel. But they didn’t ask. They just did.” What she regrets, but understands, while hoping that Netflix can make a gesture for the families of the victims: “I could at a pinch understand if Netflix gave money to the children of the victims (…) The victims had children and grandchildren. If the series could benefit them in some way, then its existence does not would not seem so hard to take and devoid of interest [pours les familles des victimes]”. And Rita Isbell will not watch the series: “I don’t need to see the facts, I lived them”.

Another reaction joining this “duty of memory”, that published by the actor Shaun J. Brown, interpreting Tracy Edwards in DAHMER. On his Twitter account, he reminded us that the facts had really happened, and that we had to keep this in mind: “I ask you, when you watch the show, to remember that these men were sons, best friends, cousins, uncles, with dreams, hopes and goals that they could not achieve”.

shock program, DAHMER therefore arouses many reactions, and has probably not finished talking, posing the problem of adapting real facts into fiction. If there is, in France and in other countries, a real passion for true crimesto see such cruel facts being transcribed with such realism can offend the sensitivity of the spectators. DAHMER is a scary series, that’s a fact. Not because there’s more blood, jump scares or horror scenes than in others. But because it describes proven facts, showing both the failure, tinged with racism, of the authorities, and the cruelty of a man. And that’s the scariest thing: Jeffrey Dahmer really existed, and these murders were really committed like this.

Sources: Vulture, International Mail, Insider

The article is in French

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