Nov/2017

Film Review: The Transfiguration!

by Gumbercules9000 on Aug 24th, 2017

Hi everyone, Bryan here….

I’m just in awe at the new indie vampire film ‘The Transfiguration‘. With so many vampire films in so many sub-genres and different interpretations, it’s great to see something so original and heartfelt from first time director Michael O’Shea. I have to think that O’Shea was a big fan of the 1994 film Fresh and had a strong connection to the vampire folklore, because those two ingredients make up The Transfiguration in a new and inventive way.

Set along the housing projects and loner beachfronts of Queens, New York, we follow a young, smart, yet lonely teenager named Milo (Eric Ruffin), who’s mother died recently and now lives in the house with his brother who never seems to get off the couch. Milo attends school and spends his time alone, writing and drawing in his secret notebook, amongst other things. In fact, the first scene of the film is quite deceptive of what Milo might be up to as we see a shot inside a dirty public bathroom where we hear moans from a closed stall. It seems like two people might be about to climax, but upon further inspection, we see Milo feasting on the neck of some stranger, blood and all.

After his meal, he takes the dead guy’s money and heads out. Even though Milo keeps to himself and studies, he is consistently bullied and beat up for being quiet and shy by the local gang members. He instead spends his time reading and watching movies about vampires as his old school VHS collections show films like The Lost Boys, Let the Right One In, Nosferatu, Near Dark, and even more legendary vampire films that we all love. You can almost say that Milo’s room is his coffin as it’s dark, cozy, and filled with vampire lore. Soon, an older girl named Sophie moves into the building with her abusive grandfather and the two start a very awkward relationship that has all of the right elements in a teen angst love, given the somewhat supernatural aspect here.

From here, their lives go in different directions as Milo has set a plan to help Sophie and himself get out of their violent neighborhoods. Much like the film Fresh that followed a young kid living in the projects in New York, who like a game of chess, had to plan many moves ahead to accomplish his goal of peace and freedom by himself with no help from adults has a very similar story here with The Transfiguration. Also, we have Let the Right One In where two young kids develop a relationship where one may or may not be a vampire and help each other out. It’s a genius combination that takes you on a beautiful and subdued journey without all the glitter and doom aspects of most vampire films. Instead, we have a quiet glimpse of these amazing characters, trying to better themselves and do the right thing without the help of others at such a young age.

Ruffin is a phenomenal actor here, as you can see the pain and confidence in his eyes at all times, as he comes to terms with who he is. He’s going places, as is the director Michael O’Shea, as he paints his canvas with a subtle light in this dark world these characters live in and makes you question on whether or not to like Milo. There are no big action sequences here or tons of blood splattering across the camera lens, but rather an elegant, if not striking score that resonates a very emotional tone and impact as the story unfolds. I must say, The Transfiguration is now one of my favorite vampire films ever, and I don’t say that lightly. I’ll also add that iconic filmmakers Lloyd Kaufman (Troma) and Larry Fessenden make cameo appearances in the film, both of who know a thing or two about vampires, and if you have that in your film, you’re doing something right.

MUST-SEE!

-Bryan Kluger

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