THE TRANSFIGURATION review


2017
Directed by: Michael O'Shea
Starring: Eric Ruffin, Chloe Levine, and Aaron Moten

Very seldom is a vampire film, just a vampire film and more often than not a genre film is not just a genre film. Writers and directors have used the macabre to explore ideas and comment on society in ways that mainstream films ignore. First-time feature director Michael O'Shea has used the vampire myth in THE TRANSFIGURATION to explore poverty, violence, gangs, rape, and the many facets of inner city adolescence. It's clear from the get go that O'Shea is fully aware of the blood sucking tropes that fill this particular sub-genre of horror films. He isn't nervous about subverting those standards or using them as he sees fit. It's knowledge of what has come before that allows O'Shea to make something unique that stands completely on its own.

Milo (Eric Ruffin) is an isolated teenager living in a densely populated city. An outlier that doesn't fit in with the other kids his age. They bully him both verbally and physically for being a "weirdo". The other kids are right about Milo. He is different. He has an obsession with Vampire films and enjoys watching videos of a slaughter house. He has violent thoughts and has acted out on them.

Sophie (Chloe Levine) is an awkward but kind hearted young woman who takes a genuine interest in Milo. She knows he is different, but so is she. Sophie acts as a force of change in Milo's life. A force that helps Milo to face some of the truly heinous things he has done in the name of becoming a vampire.

Ruffin and Levine both give deeply human performances that are both compelling and tragic. Choosing to set the film in our reality, O'Shea a, allows his characters to be flawed. Our protagonist is a kid who has done some terrible things but we can see that the odds were stacked against him from the start. He didn't have a chance. Parentless and left more or less on his own, Milo navigates a violent world with little to no guidance.

O'Shea composed some really powerful shots for THE TRANSFIGURATION. Imagery that is absolutely haunting but it's clear he knows how important good sound design is to genre fare. Not the cat suddenly jumping out from behind the door to get a cheap jump, sound design, but the wet sounds of blood that are unnerving. The kind of sounds that you hope to never hear, pure nightmare fuel. The opening sequence of the film has some of the best use of sound in any film this year.

While THE TRANSFIGURATION is ostensibly a film about vampirism, O'Shea injects his film with relevance and commentary to make it something far more interesting.

THE TRANSFIGURATION is currently available on all VOD platforms and Netflix. So, you've got no excuse, do yourself a favor and watch it tonight.