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Raising Jeffrey Dahmer

37 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

RAISING JEFFREY DAHMER is a story about a father's continual love for his son during one of the most shocking serial killing sprees in history. After Jeffrey's arrest, their lives unpended by rumors, innuendo and intrusive media attention, the members of Dahmer's family painfully try to piece together what led to Jeffrey's cold-blooded crimes.

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Wood Dickinson
  • Directors: Rich Ambler
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Lions Gate
  • DVD Release Date: June 24, 2008
  • Run Time: 100 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 2.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0017INRHM
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #35,214 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Raising Jeffrey Dahmer" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By R. Schultz VINE VOICE on August 17, 2008
Format: DVD
This is a very amateurish production that tells us almost nothing about how Jeffrey Dahmer might have come by the fetishes that made him one of the most bizarre serial killers of the century.

Dahmer is an anomaly in the pantheon of serial killers in that he does not seem to have himself been the victim of real verbal or physical abuse as he was growing up. His biological parents were divorced and Jeffrey was largely raised by his father and stepmother. But his stepmother was no Grimm's fairytale figure. All the adults in his life appear to have been relatively intelligent and supportive. So the mystery of his pathology remains. And that's all this movie shows - his father being mystified.

This movie does show Jeffrey's father speculating that the boy might have gotten twisted by the prescription drugs his mother grew dependent on during her pregnancy. Other than that one little piece of biographical information though, there's nothing substantive here. And the production values of this indie film are so poor, the film is almost unwatchable sometimes.

Whenever the narrative is told in flashback, which it frequently is, the Director decided to use a bleached out, somewhat smudged effect on the film. This makes the actors look as if they were performing in an early 1950's TV episode shown in its fragile kinescope original.

The actors also perform as if they were in an early 1950's soap opera. They sit in suspended animation, in slow, eternally unresolved anguish. When we skip ten years and tune in again, we find we haven't missed a thing. Husband and wife are seated on the same worn couch - against the same dingy, minimalist background. They are still there in long-drawn surmise. "How did all those animals die?
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Jeffery Mingo on June 29, 2008
Format: DVD
I love it when I learn that books I enjoyed had film adaptations completed. It was four years after I read Gore Vidal's book that I learned that "Myra Breckenridge" (sp?) was made into a film. I loved Abraham Verghese's first book and was pleased that Marisa Tomei performed in its film adaptation. I read Lionel Dahmer's book and just knew I had to see how it was going to be visualized.

It must be stressed that this film focuses on Jeffrey Dahmer's father and stepmother, rather than the murderer himself. In the same way that Coppola's "Marie Antoinette" said close to nothing of the horrific class inequality of late 18th-century France, this doesn't look at the world from Jeffrey Dahmer's eyes, or with a bird's eye view of him. This is also a bit like how "Cry Freedom" did not focus on Steven Biko, but on a white supporter of his.

Maybe a ton of people read that book and I didn't know about it. Since the Dahmer controversy happened a little under 20 years ago, I am not sure how many film viewers remember it or would want to meditate on it now. 9/11 and other matters from this decade may have brushed Dahmer off the table. The Columbine murders may also have had that same influence. The actors here don't have bad timing like in many low-budget flicks, but some may be aggravated by how slowly the film moves. Further, the work is filmed in drab and sun-erased colors that may annoy many. Still, if you are horrified by the facts behind Dahmer's murders, they barely come up here at all. Perhaps, they feel the first two (or more?) films on Dahmer have already portrayed that effectively. This movie doesn't portray Lionel's response to Jeffrey's murder and I wish it had.
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This movie was fascinating, especially because it is all true.

This movie is told from Lionel's view and memories, as the father who raised Jeffrey.
I really felt for Lionel.
I could feel his guilt and pain and shock over being the father of a serial killer.

I would have liked more information, such as :

Was Jeffrey actually born messed up, because his mother was an addict before she became pregnant with him, and all during her pregnancy?
People are born to addicts and don't become like Jeffrey, but that doesn't mean that Jeffrey's mother's drugs didn't mess him up.
This is probably an unanswerable question.

Did the grandmother (Catherine) recover after the stroke?
I thought that Catherine knew lots of secrets about Jeffrey, and keeping it all inside made her sick.

What happened to Jeffrey's mother (Joyce)?
Lionel went into Joyce's house and found 18-year-old Jeffrey there, getting high with two other people, and doing some kind of satanic seances.
When Lionel asked Jeffrey where Joyce was, he just kept saying that he didn't know.
So, what happened to Joyce?
I don't believe that Jeffrey did not know.

The attorney said that no judge would find Jeffrey incompetent.
So, Jeffrey was not mentally ill?
How could he do the things that he did and be sane?
I have heard about babies born "without a conscience" and other problems like that, and they are completely sane and just completely messed up.

It was touching to see Lionel and Shari and Catherine continue to love Jeffrey no matter what he did.
A real family loves a child, no matter how old he gets, and no matter what he does.
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