The Transfiguration manages to put a new spin on both the coming-of-age and vampire genre. A slow-burner that packs a solid punch!

The Transfiguration poster - vampire horror drama reviewThe Transfiguration is the story about young Milo. He lives alone with his older brother after their mom passed away. Their lives and future is pretty bleak, to say the least. They live in a very bad neighborhood, Milo has no friends and – minor detail – he believes he’s a vampire.

To any horror fan, who has watched a few (or a few hundred!) vampire movies, this should be an interesting watch. To hear Milo talk about which vampire movies are realistic and which are “not very realistic at all” is a great detail.

Especially when confronted with a new friend. A young girl, Sophie, moves into the apartment complex, where she lives with her abusive grandfather – like I said, very bleak outlook. Anyway, Sophie really loves Twilight (books and movies), which doesn’t sit too well with Milo, but he tries to keep an open mind.

Basically, The Transfiguration offers some sweet and very real moments in the lives of these young friends. But overall, there are few moments of anything resembling happiness.




The broken spirits of The Transfiguration

It’s a refreshing twist that Milo lives with his older brother, Lewis, and we get to experience their relationship. It’s quite a bit strained and not many words are spoken, but the care and love is clearly there. Through some very simple dialogue, we know that Lewis is a veteran and has seen quite a few things when on tour.

Of course, we also know that Milo himself is doing things much worse than Lewis can imagine. In fact, the movie opens with Milo doing his vampire thing and while he never wants anyone to suffer, he has no problem taking their life.

Actually, some people are allowed to suffer as well. Not that you can blame him. He definitely sees the worst in people on a daily basis even if he tries to keep to himself.

The Transfiguration review - Chloe Levine and Eric Ruffin

Sophie is the one person, who manages to scratch the surface a little bit. He treats her very kindly – even if he is pretty distant at first. She’s used to being treated extremely badly by almost everyone she meets but manages to keep a pretty positive outlook on life.

She’s always kind and open to the people she meets, and when Milo acknowledges her presence (and not much else) it’s a welcomed change of pace for her.

A very dark and intense story

To me, the best parts of The Transfiguration are the two supporting characters Sophie and Lewis – Milo’s new friend and older brother respectively. They deliver insight to his possible future and his dark past. Chloe Levine plays Sophie and does so absolutely perfectly.

You want her to stay in the scene longer even if she says nothing at all. She’s the breath of fresh air that makes Milo forget his vampire life. For a while anyway.

Chloe Levine is also part of the Netflix show The OA, so if she looks familiar, this could be why. Or if you’ve seen the brilliant King Jack you may now her from that one.




Lewis is portrayed by Aaron Moten, who did an amazing job in the HBO show The Night of. He’s just as good in The Transfiguration where he gets a bit more to work with. Still, he is one of those wonderful actors that can speak volumes with just a glance. I can’t wait to see what he does next but I’m sure I’ll love him in it!

Obviously, the main character is very important and Eric Ruffin (The Good Wife) delivers an intense portrait of Milo. To me, the supporting actors just made Eric Ruffin’s work even better, which is why I wanted to highlight them.

Michael O’Shea wrote and directed The Transfiguration which marks his debut in both areas. It’s an extremely strong debut and one that certainly has our expectations for his next projects set very high. Hopefully, we won’t have to wait too long before we see something new from O’Shea. In the meanwhile, make sure you check out this film!

The Transfiguration premiered at Cannes Film Festival last year and is still playing at various festivals worldwide. It’s also out in limited US theatrical release from April 7 and in the UK from April 21, 2017.

Details

Director: Michael O’Shea
Writer: Michael O’Shea
Cast: Eric Ruffin, Chloe Levine, Aaron Moten, Danny Flaherty

Plot

When troubled teen Milo, who has a fascination with vampire lore, meets the equally alienated Sophie, the two form a bond that begins to blur Milo’s fantasy into reality.

Review
Review Date
Reviewed Item
The Transfiguration
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ScreamQueen

ScreamQueen

Sometimes a chosen name seems to stick, but it's no secret that my real name is Karina Adelgaard. I write reviews and recaps on Heaven of Horror. And yes, it does happen that I find myself screaming, when watching a good horror movie. I love psychological horror, survival horror and kick-ass women. Also, I have a huge soft spot for a good horror-comedy. Oh yeah, and I absolutely HATE when animals are harmed in movies, so I will immediately think less of any movie, where animals are harmed for entertainment (even if the animals are just really good actors). Fortunately, horror doesn't use this nearly as much as comedy. And people assume horror lovers are the messed up ones. Go figure!
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