The most refreshing vampire film since Tomas Alfredson’s Let The Right One In, 2016’s The Transfiguration is a wonderfully low-fi horror film which adds a lot of interesting elements to a genre which is almost as old as cinema itself. This isn’t like the recent slew of CGI- fuelled fantasy pics like the Underworld or Twilight franchises. The Transfiguration is an artistic piece of entertainment which treats the potentially schlocky and well-worn subject matter with a respect which it rarely gets these days.
Eric Ruffin is Milo, a teenager so fascinated by vampires that he uses his knowledge from films and books to go on a blood-sucking killing spree in inner-city New York. Milo then befriends the troubled Sophie (Chloe Levine) and their relationship makes him re-evaluate his murderous ways – but is his blood lust too strong to keep their friendship alive?
Writer-director Michael O’Shea’s film is a deliberately constructed character piece – yes, on the surface it might be a vampire film (or is it?) but O’Shea works hard at building atmosphere, without resorting to jump scares and cheap tricks. The Transfiguration is filled with many quiet moments which help to construct a very well balanced whole. Eric Ruffin is excellent as the young teen with a vampire fixation and he gives a nuanced performance which transcends his youthfulness. The film rests on his shoulders and he manages to carry it without ever disappointing.
A fascinating film that works as well as a drama as it does as a vampire film, The Transfiguration is a surprising piece of filmmaking which impresses on many different levels. This is worth seeking out – but it’s not just for horror fans.