I was really excited when I heard that Evan Peters landed the role of Jeffrey Dahmer, one of America’s most prolific serial killers right along with Ted Bundy and Ed Gein. I was even more confident to learn that his constant collaborator Ryan Murphy was helming the project. After the first episode though, I’m not as confident about how this will go down because the pilot episode felt more like a claustrophobic episode of American Horror Story.
There is no question Evan Peters is an excellent actor. He has delivered on various roles for American Horror Story and even won an Emmy recently. He has a knack for playing serious and comedic roles and delivers on each part every single time. He just has a natural sense about these things.
Unfortunately, when it comes to portraying a real life character, I believe from the first episode, that Evan might have fallen short. I’ve seen several interviews of Jeffrey Dahmer during my True Crime phase and it always seemed to me that he was spaced out, and blank when he talked about his victims and what he did. That was what made him very scary. Peters did not come across as that guy.
Evan’s Dahmer spoke with slow deliberation. He breathed heavily and the character always seemed to be wrestling with his inner demons. He did not seem like Dahmer at all, who picked up guys from the bar easily because of his good lucks, mysterious charm and intelligence. When you see Evan’s Dahmer, you would want to run as far away as possible because he looked unhinged from the get go. It was a wonder how he managed to pick up a guy from the bar when he was acting so creepy.
The first episode was very slow, very long and had every intention to deliver a sense of being trapped along with Dahmer’s captive. There was no mistake about the motive.
There was no doubt the show wanted the audience to feel the terror along with the victim. It made no secret that it wanted the audience to be disgusted with the serial killer’s actions. It depicted Dahmer as a monster, which he no doubt was but its a bit of a hard sell with Episode 1 because filmmakers were trying too hard.
It’s still a long way off but I hope in future episodes, Dahmer picks up the pace before it bores its audience to sleep. Going for an air of deliberation is one thing but there also has to be something in between more than the shock value.
PS. I’m not giving it a final rating yet. These are only my thoughts on the first episode of 10.