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The Secret Life Of Jeffrey Dahmer
cast: Carl Crew, Cassidy Phillips, Donna Stewart Bowen, and Jeanne Bascom

director: David R. Bowen

99 minutes (18) 1993
widescreen ratio 1.85:1
Film 2000 DVD Region 2 retail

RATING: 0/10
reviewed by Christopher Teague
There are times when you watch a film and at the end you realise, sadly, that you'll never ever get those two hours back. This happened to me when the end credits rolled on this, a film so bad it made those 'true stories' on the Hallmark channel look Wellesian in comparison.

I do feel rather churlish to write this, especially when said film is such a low-budget labour of love: David Bowen and Carl Crew produced the feature, with Crew also playing the serial killer and Bowen providing the score, and I presume Bowen's wife acting as associate producer. The look of the film, though, is 1980s' hardcore porn - grainy filmstock, locations lit with a solitary 80-watt bulb - and the acting is even worse than those self-same porn movies.

The idea behind the film is worthy - sequences from the life of Jeffrey Dahmer told with a matter-of-fact voiceover, to ascribe how his tempestuous upbringing could have led him onto the path that would lead to his notorious fate - and in a way Crew's script does succeed a little in this respect, with the downbeat narration, but The Secret Life Of Jeffrey Dahmer was shot and edited so abysmally, you would be forgiven for thinking that it was made before Henry: Portrait Of A Serial Killer, which more or less set the benchmark for future serial killer life histories, and probably cost just as much to make.

Perusing the Internet Movie Database, I noticed that Bowen never directed a film since - if you ask me, he made the right decision. I hate to give a film zero marks, but on this occasion the work deserves nothing more than nil point. Avoid it at all costs - unless, of course, you enjoy cinematic masochism.

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